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.