Accidents Happen (2009)
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Oscar® nominee* Geena Davis stars as Gloria Conway, the sharp-tongued mom in this darkly comic story of a family strangely cursed with a streak of bad luck. But as life takes unexpected detours, Gloria manages to tear apart her pain to find the humor in even the toughest things that happen to her. When her teenage son Billy uncharacteristically lets off some steam in a series of scandalous pranks, the tragic results are something no one could have predicted. But with the love of his family and some unexpected help, Billy sees the magic behind life’s oddest accidents.
Rotten Tomatoes Movie Reviews
- Reviews Counted: 9
- Fresh: 5
- Rotten: 4
- Average Rating: 5.5/10
Top Critics' Reviews
Fresh: This take-no-prisoners family flick is not your average suburban trip.
Rotten: It's as if Carbee and Lancaster were unsure themselves: were they making a bitter-sweet, ironic memoir of adolescence? Or were they making a melodrama? Both tone and pace jerk all over the place...
Rotten: Accidents Happen quite easily commits the menu of sins that have long dogged Australian films: bad direction, unfocused story, thin characterisation, emotional incoherence and almost no idea what type of film it is supposed to be.
Fresh: It's left to Davis to rise above the limitations of the material, and she does so valiantly, but the scenes lack the wallop of the intended emotional payoff.
First, let me say I wanted to like this film. It held my interest for the first fifteen minutes, based on the humorous and unique launch of the story, cinematography. And I am a Geena Davis fan. Her performance and presence turns out to be one of the few compelling things in the movie. I am quite surprised it gained a 71% on Rotten Tomatoes, but I've learned that's not always a reliable indicator.
Two main problems drag this movie down:
1, It's ambition is a genre-busting interlace of comedy, drama, tragedy, family dysfunction. It sets its sites high, and in the beginning I felt it going after the Magnolia / Paul Thomas Anderson multi-faceted story telling that is so captivating and gratifying. But in this film the threads just unravel and it ends up an unfocused amalgam of clashing sentiments and intentions.
2, Geena Davis is great, and there are a few other actors with small parts who turn in admirable performances, but (and I hate to say this, cuz I ain't a hater, and I wanna support young actors, but the truth is the truth) the performances from the staple of four young actors is not compelling. They drain the energy from nearly every scene they're in. They are not compelling. What should feel like the intense emotional vertigo this film is after just evaporates over and over into a confusing, unmoving morass. Only G. Davis can stir, and she isn't given much to go with here.