Sunshine State

Edie Falco, Angela Bassett

Directed by John Sayles
Rolling Stone: star rating
5 0
Community: star rating
5 0 0
June 21, 2002

How Florida's pirate past impacts on its present and future is probably too much for one movie to handle. Don't tell that to rebel writer-director John Sayles, who uses two families — one black, one white — to show how race, politics and land grabbing divide Floridians.

Edie Falco sparks the film as Marly, a divorcee who runs a motel owned by her retired dad (Ralph Waite). Once a mermaid in a local underwater show, Marly has let her dreams fade, but not her spirit. When her golf-pro lover (Marc Blucas) splits, she takes up with a landscape architect (Timothy Hutton) barely in town long enough for his building firm to run her out of business.esiree (a stunning Angela Bassett) was fifteen and pregnant when she left home in the black enclave. She's back to confront her mother (Mary Alice, alive with fire and grace), a guardian to a teen arsonist (Alex Lewis) in a family house she refuses to sell.

Sunshine State is teeming with characters, from a chamber-of-commerce exec (Mary Steenburgen) and her banker husband (Gordon Clapp) to a black doctor (Bill Cobbs) who fights their urge to despoil in the name of progress. One developer (Alan King) describes the scam paradise he's building on swampland as "nature on a leash." You can feel the heat that ignites this gripping tale, and the humor and humanity that root it in feeling. Sayles knows how to use his social conscience: He lets it rip.

Movie Review Main Next


Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...


Sort by:
    Read More

    Movie Reviews

    More Reviews »
    Around the Web
    Powered By ZergNet
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.


    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “Long Walk Home”

    Bruce Springsteen | 2007

    When the subject of this mournful song returns home, he hardly recognizes his town. Springsteen told Rolling Stone the alienation the man feels is a metaphor for life in a politically altered post-9/11 America. “Who would have ever thought we’d live in a country without habeas corpus?” he said. “That’s Orwellian. That’s what political hysteria is about and how effective it is. I felt it in myself. You get frightened for your family, for your home. And you realize how countries can move way off course, very far from democratic ideals.”

    More Song Stories entries »