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Sunshine State: Developers vs community
an article by Lindsay Mathews

Who will win out, the developers bent on turning a seaside Florida town into a megacorporate resort or the people, black and white, who have lived in two communities side by side for many generations? There is tension throughout the whole movie, The Sunshine State, because you don't know until the last minute.

Through the excellent camera work of Director John Sayles and the fine portrayals by the actors in this film, you gradually become aware - at the same time as the characters - that there is a community in this little seacoast town of Florida and there is an environment that needs to be saved. True, the white community and the black community are separate, but when the chips are down they come together to protect their homes, their businesses and their land. This coming together is symbolized by an emotional reunion between Desiree, the black girl who left town years ago in a scandal and Delia, the white woman who has continued to express her frustrated acting career by running a community theatre.

For me a key scene was in the little ancient graveyard of the black part of town, now surrounded by a golf course for whites from the North, where Desiree's mother picks up golf balls off the old gravestones and flings them over the fence, exclaiming "this is no playpen!"

All this is shown with a sense of humor and a tenderness for the people involved, so that you leave the theatre with a sense that deep down most people share the same values and can find a way to live together. This movie is being shown around the US now in many cinemas, but you may want to go see it quickly, since it doesn't appeal to the sex and violence advertising that seems to keep most new films around for a long time. You can find more information about it at


Question(s) related to this article:

Sex and violence in the movies, necessary for commercial success?

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Latest reader comment:

What always strikes me about the movie industry is that when executives defend the prevalence of violence in film, they say they are just "responding to demand" as if this uncontrolable force is responsible for their actions and explains our propensity towards violence. What they refuse to acknowledge is that their multi-million dollar advertising campaigns are largely responsible for creating that demand, and that consumers cannot "choose" a less violent alternative if one is never offered. These arguments are also used by many in the TV industry.

This report was posted on August 10, 2002.