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01 Dec 2013

Home Video Review: 'Sunlight Jr.' Works Thanks to Matt Dillon, Naomi Watts

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Naomi Watts and Matt Dillon in Sunlight Jr. Naomi Watts and Matt Dillon in Sunlight Jr.

Naomi Watts and Matt Dillon make for a decent pairing in Sunlight Jr., about down-on-their-luck people simply trying to survive. They are quite convincing as a couple living below the poverty level, and trying hard to make ends meet.

Watts is Melissa, a convenience-store worker who lives with Richie (Dillon), a strong-spirited, heavy-drinking man paralyzed from the waist down. When Melissa gets pregnant, things start happening that test their abilities to stay together and start a family.

A sinister and appropriately annoying Norman Reedus (The Walking Dead) co-stars as Melissa’s ex, a true dog of a man who tries to get in Richie’s way. Tess Harper is on hand as Melissa’s mother, a good woman who, like Richie, can’t help but drink lots of alcohol.

Watts and Dillon are great—even when the movie feels a bit routine and stereotypical. They are performers capable of rising above a script. Writer-director Laurie Collyer was blessed when they signed on. Without them, this movie probably wouldn’t have amounted to much.

The film has a decent underlying message: True love survives the direst of circumstances, even when those circumstances include one of the guys from The Walking Dead making your life miserable on a daily basis.

Sunlight Jr. is available online (including via iTunes and Amazon.com) and on demand.

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