Youth Sections
"The Dynamos of progress (Eternal Life)"

Film Review


*Antra Bhat

A beauty contest for kids….a contest where a petite little child could fulfill her dream of being crowned a beauty queen, a platform where an ever loving Grand Dad could showcase his choreography talent, a forum where a patient mom could hope to give to her kids what they wanted. That was all in it for them, the family…the Hoover family.

The movie, when I saw it…throws up two potent messages on performance. The first is on stereotypes and the second on the inputs to performance.

Olive Hoover, the cute little ambitious and confident kid in ‘Little miss Sunshine’, puts up a very normal show for the first few rounds where no one seems to notice her around. This is to the extent that no one in the crowd except her father (who thinks he is some close ancestor of Stephen Covey), her brother Twain (who hates everyone in the world), Uncle Frank (His claim to fame is his recent suicide attempt) and of course the mother cheers for her. The last individual performance round is where she just sways the crowd towards herself. The crowd cheers when she dances to the tune of a corny song (all choreographed by her Grand Dad without any knowledge of this to the rest of the family), people like it, they sing, they sway and they are awed by the oodles of confidence in the child.

Yet she doesn’t win…..

That’s because, everyone enjoys and has fun except the organizers and the Judges.

That brings us to the first message on stereotypes. Everyone in the contest was expected to perform in an expected way. Oliver Hoover went ahead with an unconventional dance number that everyone in the audience liked lest the organizing committee who thought it was ‘lewd and obscene’ enough for the child to be disqualified from any beauty contest happening in California hence forth!

Food for thought in case of life in general is whether you should care about what your superiors think about your performance or make your end receiver happy as long as you are at it…

This brings us to the second potent message in the movie on inputs to an acceptable performance. Olive Hoover and her grand Dad put in loads and loads of effort to practice to get to the finals of the contest. She practiced everything possible whether it was the dance steps, the opening speech or the way to behave once you know you won!

Yet what comes through is a failure to understand what was accepted and not accepted at the contest. The other kids performing at the contest had rehearsed walking the ramp, costumes on lines of other beauty contests, worked on their looks, make up and poise. They were conventional and prepared by probably someone who had prior experience of beauty contests in California. And here was Olive Hoover, trained by her Grand Dad on something foot tapping yet retro and unconventional. But the fact remains that she believed in her performance and didn’t get disgruntled if she didn’t win it?

Then food for thought here is, have you worked on the right parameters and undergone and taken the right and flights destination link relevant inputs from trainings to deliver a conventional and acceptable performance.

So let’s apply this to our errands and decide

  • What we want to look at in life, the end customer or the immediate judge?
  • What do we want to deliver-an acceptable performance or something that we believe in?
  • How important is winning vs. believing in your own performance?
Cast and Crew talk about what it was like to work with Abigail Breslin and her performance as Olive.

*Antra Bhatt is a 21 year old masters student under the faculty of Economics at University of Macerata,Italy. Before this she studied from Lady shri Ram college, University of Delhi at the Economics department.

Antra has been an editor for a number of journals and magazines in college and some of her articles have also been published in The times of India, Hindustan times and The state times(Local Daily of Jammu). She is also an active member of the Youth Parliament in Delhi, India.

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