Sunshine State

Writer/Director John Sayles juggles an ensemble cast and several subplots using timely editing and fluid handheld camera work in this charming yet temporarily memorable film. When a large developing corporation threatens to transform a quaint little Florida beach town into a money-making mess of strip malls, resorts and tourist attractions, the local townsfolk let us glimpse their complex lives and personal beliefs concerning the politics of progress that have both racial and social origins. An independent business owner (Edie Falco) exhausted at the helm of her family-owned motel/restaurant, an ostracized daughter turned infomercial diva (Angela Bassett) now aware of the sentimental importance of her hometown, and genealogy and a determined local man proud of his African-American heritage yet disgruntled by the Civil Rights repercussions are just a few of the colorful characters that skillfully feed the corporate versus kindred theme. Despite the poignant plot and subplots, this lengthy drama ultimately leaves you indifferent and in a cloudy State.

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