Directed By: Lawrence Kasdan
Screenplay By: Frank Galati, Lawrence Kasdan
Based on the novel by Anne Tyler
Produced By: Michael Grillo, Lawrence Kasdan, Charles Okun
Cast: Geena Davis, William Hurt, Kathleen Turner, Bill Pullman, Ed Begley Jr., Amy Wright
MPAA Rating: PG
Runtime: 121 minutes
Review Date: September 24, 2010
It’s no accident how entertaining, awkward, confusing, and funny The Accidental Tourist is. With quirky characters and bizarre relationships, it’s hard to walk away from despite the weak script.
Macon Leary (William Hurt) is a writer looking to create a book for business travelers. His narration throughout the movie, overlapping real-world scenes, is an added bonus to the viewer. Macon and his wife, Sarah (Kathleen Turner), lose a son, dooming their relationship as they move forward. After Sarah leaves him, he’s saddled with their dog, Edward. As Macon is preparing to leave to write about London, he seeks a boarder for Edward, where he meets the eccentric and grossly skinny Muriel Pritchett (Geena Davis).
Muriel becomes quite bizarre in her moments with Macon, yet Macon is drawn to her, as is the viewer. Her quirks and oddities make you think ulterior motives are somewhere, though maybe it’s just fate.
Macon’s siblings prove quite the interesting family dynamic. His siblings Porter (David Ogden Stiers), Charles (Ed Begley, Jr.), and Rose (Amy Wright) are a bit uncomfortable to watch. Macon’s publisher, Julian (Bill Pullman), is also intrigued to learn more about Macon’s family. It seems the Leary clan can never remember directions and are constantly lost, which is exactly what you feel during their screen time.
While the storylines are a bit complex at times, all relationships stem around Macon: his sibling, husband, boyfriend, father, and business relationships. At times, he becomes an accidental father to Rose when Julian wants to plan a life with her. Macon also becomes an accidental father to Muriel’s son, Alexander. Macon becomes an accidental boyfriend to Muriel. You see Macon travel through each of these relationships in a bit of a dazed state.
I never really became a fan of Muriel, as she made me extremely uneasy throughout her storyline. She was just a bit too quirky and bit more aggressive than I’m sure she meant to come off. Despite my comfort level with the character, Geena Davis won the Oscar for this portrayal.
The film is interesting, as you’re not entirely sure of what’s going on — as if the whole thing, from the script to production, was a mere accident. Despite Macon seemingly like a wet blanket throughout the film, he does deliver a fantastic shiner out of nowhere:
I’m beginning to think that maybe it’s not how much you love someone. Maybe what matters is who you are when you’re with them. — Macon Leary
Hanna Soltys is a green tea drinker and film critic living in Chicago.