Sunshine State
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJohn Sayles
Screenplay byJohn Sayles
Produced byMaggie Renzi
StarringJane Alexander
Angela Bassett
Bill Cobbs
Edie Falco
Timothy Hutton
Alan King
Mary Steenburgen
CinematographyPatrick Cady
Edited byJohn Sayles
Music byMason Daring
Anarchist's Convention Films
Distributed bySony Pictures Classics
Release date
Running time
141 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$3,369,654[1]

Sunshine State is a 2002 American drama film written and directed by John Sayles. The picture stars an ensemble cast that features Angela Bassett, Edie Falco, Jane Alexander, Alan King, Timothy Hutton, Mary Steenburgen, Bill Cobbs, and others. It was filmed on Amelia Island, Florida, which includes settings in historic Fernandina Beach. Amelia Island is located 30 or so miles north of Jacksonville. For her performance in the film, Falco received the Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress.

Set in a small town in northern Florida, the main two intertwining stories focus on two women at crucial points in their lives, and also comments on such issues as race relations and commercial property development.


As the primarily white town of Delrona Beach, Florida, is preparing for its annual festival, one of the parade floats is set afire. A young black boy named Terrell is found guilty of the deed, and he is sentenced to community service with a local community theater. An orphan, Terrell is in the care of an elderly relative, Eunice Stokes, who lives in the neighboring, primarily black community of Lincoln Beach.

Eunice is being visited by her actress daughter, Desiree, a former beauty queen who left town while she was still in high school. At the time, she caused a scandal because she was pregnant by her boyfriend and her parents sent her to live with an aunt in Georgia until the baby came. She has returned to make amends to her mother and also to introduce her new husband, Reggie. While in town, she becomes reacquainted with her old high-school paramour, Flash, who was a star football player and is now a promoter for a property development scheme.

Back in Delrona Beach, Marly Temple runs a motel and cafe owned by her elderly father and drama-instructor mother. Marly feels shackled by the arrangement and is tempted to sell the hotel to developers, but she assumes her father will never agree. Marly wanted to be a marine biologist and was once an underwater performer, but when her twin older brothers died in an accident, she reluctantly became her father's heir. Marly must also deal with her former husband, Steve, a slacker who is always looking to make some quick money. Marly additionally has a boyfriend, Scotty, who is struggling to become a golf pro and travel the tour circuit. Marly then becomes romantically involved with Jack, a landscape architect affiliated with the property developers.

Offering commentary on the story are a group of golfers, who act as an updated iteration of the Greek chorus.





  1. ^ "Sunshine State". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved Jan 26, 2020.