The Accidental Tourist Reviews
What a great cast, script and direction!
It did affirm my thoughts about the book, though. One is much better off watching the movie than reading the book; the filmmakers harvested all the charming bits (the quirky Leary siblings and their invented game of Vaccination and pantry OCD), the training of the vicious corgi, Edward, and Muriel, as played by Geena Davis. It did manage to capture that Anne Tyler writes 30 somethings as 60 somethings. All in all, though, a pleasant watch.
Part of me expected The Accidental Tourist to be a lighthearted comedy-drama, so it was quite a surprise when the narrative dropped the bombshell on me that the central premise revolved around a character whose 12 year old son was murdered. This gives the fim an intense concept and one which would have been fairly striking back in the day of its original release. Nowadays it has been dealt wth countless times in films that I have enjoyed more, but The Accidental Tourist is still an effective example of a film which pushed the boundaries on its depiction of social issues. Looking back on it, I feel like The Accidental Tourist could have been a lot more. For its time it would have broken through the ceiling a bit, but I felt that it didn't soar because it failed to really examine the complicated depth of the characters facing such grim subject matter. The film was appropriately atmospheric because its slow pace allowed for a melancholic emptiness to proceed while John Williams' musical score did a wonderful job dramatizing the film at times. The atmosphere in the film was good, but the slow pace didn't justify itself that much.I know it is intended to give the characters time to develop and viewers time understand everything, but I felt like the film itself didn't fully understand just how complicated the situations it presented were or what it could have done with the relationships it was depicting. There was potential to get a lot deeper with The Accidental Tourist, but it was severly limited by its source material. Much of this was compensated for by the quality of the performances, but there is no denying that The Accidental Tourist could have gone a lot deeper for a film which progressed at a pace as slowly as it did.
Still, though I have never read the source material for myself I found that it had concepts which translated well to film, and this was largely thanks to the directorial work from Lawrence Kasdan. I found that despite the limitations set by the script, Lawrence Kasdan did his best to ensure that the drama developed on its own while also using a sense of style to enhance it at times. The scenery in the film is enhanced by a sense of lighting which makes eveything look a rather grim grey through its use of shadowing and the way that the camera really puts focus onto the faces of the actors above all. This help audiences feel closer to the characters and that they are really experiencing what lies beneath. But most importantly, Lawrence Kasdan really empowers his cast.
William Hurt does a very strong job carrying The Accidenal Tourist in the role of protagonist Macon Leary. He finds the right level of drama to express in the role as he is able to hold a lot of his character's pain on the inside yet expressing it in other ways. He doesn't show many emotions, but you can tell through the monotonous nature of his facial expressions that he has taken too much from life for him to keep on going as he once could. The restrained nature of his line delivery reinforces this and creates a strong chemistry with both Geena Davis and Kathleen Turner, but his role is more built on the physical expression of emotions. You can see more spirit emanating as the narrative develops and his chemistry with Geena Davis gets better. The way that these two cast members interact shows them actively getting into the spirit of their characters very admirably. William Hurt works really well as the lead in The Accidental Tourist, and in the areas that the narrative comes up short he manages to still come out strong, proving himself to work very well with Lawrence Kasdan once again.
Geena Davis is the screen stealer in The Accidental Tourist. With the film promoting such a grim tone, her character is the most uplifting and spirited. It seems like a natural spirit which just emanates from within her. She doesn't separate herself from the drama in this regard because she still grasps the dark melancholy of the story with ease, but she seems so invested in bringing her character to life that she succeeds easily. She provides an excellent character for the story because of how much she assists the developent of protagonist Macon Leary. She keeps her emotions subtle enough not to fall into melodrama but expresses them effectively through her stern line delivery. Geena Davis' dramatic charisma just lights up the screen in The Accidental Tourist because it is such a serious role for her and shows just how much she can bring out in the character. Geena Davis' performance in The Accidental Tourist is most definetely one of the finest of her career because she is very many things. She is touching, she is charming, she is very likable. But above all, she is really the best reason to see The Accidental Tourist.
Kathleen Turner appears on screen a lot less in The Accidntal Tourist than you would think which is a shame considering it is another film where she teams up with director Lawrence Kasdan and actor William Hurt after their powerful work on Body Heat, but she still manages to pull her weight as part of the film. Kathleen Turner's strength comes from her ability to portray a character who is thoughtless towards protagonist Macon Leary but sympathetic at the same time due to her emotional situation. Her role is surprisingly small, but Kathleen Turner really makes a meaningful contribution to The Accidental Tourist.
So The Accidental Tourist has a powerful premise and strong directorial work from Lawrence Kasdan, and while the lack of ambitious depth and slow pace of the film may wear it down, the cast and particularly the wonderful Geena Davis really keep it going.
the loss of a couple's child drives them apart, Hurt has this chance to move forward and no longer be stuck, he meets Geena Davis and they develop an unusual bond
over time Hurt sees both women and is forced with a difficult choice
it's a film that knows how to handle its emotions, John Williams' score perfectly fits the atmosphere with what each person is going through
the plot is simple enough since it tells a harsh phase most of us have to endure
it's mature and deepening
I like Hurt in a lot of stuff, but this is not one of his better roles. I still recommend you go see the movie though. It's one of the few 80's adult comedies that actually stands the test of time.