Director and writer: Sara Colangelo
Starring: Elizabeth Banks, Josh Lucas, Boyd Holbrook, Jacob Lofland
Release: September 28th, 2015 on DVD and VOD.
LITTLE ACCIDENTS follows the lives of a small community who all are coping in their own ways to a tragic accident, which saw several of the miners die.
This sets of a series of misfortune for many of the residents including the sole survivor Amos Jenkins (Boyd Holbrook), a lonely mother (Elizabeth Banks) and a young boy with blood on his hands (Jacob Lofland).
The opening sequence shows the mining shaft presumably, although never stated, before the accident occurred and the workers allowing the audience to establish the location and the potential themes and characters.
The film has a continuous feel of a documentary-esque style through the use of the unsteady, handheld camera, yet it somehow reinforces the realism aspect that the production creates.
We are first introduced to Amos Jenkins (Holbrook) as the injured miner who is the sole survivor and from his dialogue we immediately understand an accident has occurred.
Reinforcing this is the montage of images that follows Jenkins giving his statement and it becomes apparent that the tragedy has affected the small town and even further reinforces the idea that this is not going to be a happy production.
The ‘melancholyness’ of the town and the grey skies within the images help to bring into account how an accident can affect a whole community.
After this montage of images, we are introduced to two brothers, Owen (Lofland) and James who has Down syndrome.
At first it was unclear as to whether they were the children of Amos or one of the miners who died, but as the narrative progresses, we find out that Owen and James’ father died in the mine.
The independent production hints multiple times throughout that the mining accident was not in fact an accident which brings the lonely wife and mother Diana Doyle (Banks) and her family into the narrative.
The film sees these three characters from varied social classes brought together through the mining incident and the others that follow.
LITTLE ACCIDENTS keeps the audience asking ‘what is going to happen?’ and the big question: ‘what caused the mining accident in the first place?’
As the narrative progresses, a sense that something is going to happen that will further link all the characters together ensues and it does not fail to do so. With scenes such as Owen running away from the son of Diana, JT, it is difficult to tear your eyes away from the drama. As the two boys whizz passed the camera through the wooded area it becomes an intense scene and the tension builds and then one incident causes a new narrative to emerge.
It’s clear to see why the film is called LITTLE ACCIDENTS, as it involves families being affected by one main accident followed by some smaller ones and it is rightly named. Without the death of the miners the narrative could not have gone in the direction it went and after this accident, smaller ones occur which brings all the characters together and the three main characters are all connected.
With a cast including Boyd Holbrook and Josh Lucas, the star performance has to be given to Elizabeth Banks. Her ability to show the feeling of loss is an Oscar-winning performance, which proves to be even stronger than her successes in THE HUNGER GAMES and the TV series for WET HOT AMERICAN SUMMER. Time and again, she has shown what a talented actress she is and is very pleasing within her performance.
If throughout the film, the audience is hoping for some sort of happiness to befall on the town and its residents, then prepare to be disappointed. There is some glimmer of sunshine as the narrative progresses, but it disappears as swiftly as it came.
Like most independent films, the ending is ambiguous and does not tie up the loose ends. Do the characters get their comeuppance? Is there a happy ending? It is all up to the viewers to decide the characters’ fate.
Directed and written by Sara Colangelo, LITTLE ACCIDENTS is an emotional portrayal of a town and the families who are all coping with their own loss and guilt.
LITTLE ACCIDENTS will be released on DVD and VOD on September 28th.