Accidents Happen (2009)

| 23 April , 2010 | 1 Reply

Keeva Stratton, Quip Creative

Director: Andrew Lancaster
Writer: Brian Carbee
Starring: Geena Davis, Harrison Gilbertson

Accidents Happen is a film about a series of particularly tragic accidents that surround the Conway family, beginning with the fiery death of their next-door neighbor and including the horrific loss of their daughter and the severe disabling of their son in a car accident. The reactions to these events, and the manner in which the individual members of the family deal with their grief, propels the plot through waves of tears and, believe it or not, a healthy dose of humour.

Geena Davis leads an otherwise Australian cast as Gloria, the soon-to-be divorced mother of the lost daughter and disabled son. Her battle with the train wreck that is her life and her own emotional disfunction and bitterness, cause her to struggle as she attempts to raise her remaining sons. Billy, her youngest son (played by Harrison Gilbertson in yet another incredible performance – see also Beneath Hill 60), deals with his ongoing grief through troublemaking and rebellion, which ultimately leads him into further tragedy.

Davis\’ performance is truly powerful. She transforms seamlessly into an embattled mother in a way that will have you wrenched by her tragedy, angry at her disconnection from her sons, and all the while truly grateful for her wicked sense of humour. Gilbertson is able to match her throughout and exceeds his years with his troubled encapsulation of Billy.

Though filmed in Australia, the film is set in 1980s suburban America, and the scenes and cast are every bit convincing as such. Those local to Sydney may be slightly distracted by appearance of well known landmarks such as the Blacktown Drive In, which will at times cause the suspension of disbelief to be somewhat difficult. But, overall, the Australian element is well disguised, and the unwinding of the plot maintains your attention.

It is hard to imagine a film that can be so intensely heavy that the tears will well and yet the humour is such that you\’ll laugh out loud. At the heart of this film is a story about humanity, about coping with the pain and anger of loss, and about the relationships that ultimately push you through. The film is particularly well written – it is touching, sad and yet wickedly funny – and the soundtrack is haunting, providing a true reflection of the emotional roller coaster of life captured on screen. Accidents Happen is a film that has the capacity to affect you. It is an emotional journey, but, with Kleenex at the ready, it is one worth taking indeed.

Accidents Happen is in cinemas now and if you\’d like to learn more about the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media visit

You can read our interview with Geena Davis here.

Images courtesy of Hopscotch


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Category: Film & TV

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