Posted in: by Robert Horton, Contributors, Film Reviews

‘Sunlight Jr.’: Naomi Watts Can’t Live on Minimum Wage

Matt Dillon and Naomi Watts

A minimum-wage drama, Sunlight Jr. is an account of people who mean well, work hard, and still can’t make it. The title is a particularly bitter piece of irony, because the lives of this group of South Floridians couldn’t be less cheerful at the moment. Sunlight Jr. is the name of the convenience store where Melissa (Naomi Watts) holds down a cashier job. It’s dull work, but she hopes to snag a place in the company’s college-placement program—if only she can withstand the lazy harassment of her manager and the threat of a transfer to the dreaded graveyard shift.

Melissa lives with Richie (Matt Dillon), a boozy paraplegic. These two make the film’s early reels promising, especially for the way writer/director Laurie Collyer (Sherrybaby) treats this relationship: Melissa and Richie are affectionate, clumsy, sexual.

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