“No one gets left behind,” Depression in Little Miss Sunshine
Little Miss Sunshine is a 2006 film about a family and their atypical road trip from New Mexico to California, in hopes of having their daughter Olive win a children’s beauty pageant.
Although not a large scale theme in the film, depression is brought up numerous times, and in many different scenes. Frank, played by Steve Carell, is a middle-aged scholar who just recently lost his job, went through some relationship problems, and eventually tried to commit suicide. The effects of his suicide attempt, heavily bandaged wrists, are seen consistently throughout the film. Frank’s suicide attempt occurred two days prior to the adventure, and because he could not be left alone, he makes the trip with the family.
Although not really seen in too much depth by the viewers, Frank’s depression seemed to be heavily caused by his partner’s abandonment, and the ensuing crippling of his life that soon followed. He appeared to have internalized his thoughts and feelings until it became too much to handle.
Although the viewers did not see Frank physically receiving any prescribed treatment for his depression in the film, his moods and attitudes did seem to become better as the film progressed. Being around his family, being preoccupied, and staying active all seemed to really help skew his mental state. Frank’s moods went from a complete melancholy and morose state in the beginning, to being upbeat and fixated on helping Olive in her quest to win the pageant.
Depression did appear to be portrayed in a very real light in the film. From the beginning, when Frank was seated in the hospital with his wrists bandaged staring mindlessly out the window, to the manner in which he led his life in the film, there did appear to be a lot of realness about Frank’s condition. More importantly, I think the film did a great job in showing that depression can be treated, and those suffering can get better with time and help.