The truth is rarely pure and never simple.
Premiered: January 22nd, 2014 at Sundance Film Festival
Directed by: Sara Colangelo
MPAA Motion Picture Rating: N/A
Elizabeth Banks … as Diane Doyle
Boyd Holbrook … as Amos Jenkins
Jacob Lofland … as Owen Briggs
Josh Lucas … as Bill Doyle
Chloë Sevigny … as Kendra Briggs
Alexia Rasmussen … as Nellie
James DeForest Parker … as Basil
Beau Wright … as James Briggs
Travis Tope … as JT Doyle
Randy Springer … as John McAlister
Status: Out on Region 1 DVD & VOD.
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From the official site:
When a teenage boy goes missing in a small town already devastated by a fatal mining accident, three strangers find themselves drawn together in a tangle of secrets, lies, and the collective grief of the community. Reeling from the disappearance of her son, Diane finds herself drifting away from her husband, a mining company executive whose role in the accident has made her family the prime target for the town’s anger. When she forms a dangerous bond with the sole survivor of the disaster, truths will be uncovered that threaten to tear apart the few remaining threads holding the town together in this intense drama from writer-director Sara Colangelo.
Chloë Sevigny appears in a supporting role in the film as Kendra Briggs, the mother of young Owen Briggs widowed by the film’s pivotal mining accident.
Kendra: [to Owen] “Hey, baby. What did you do all day? You still playing those games? [to Nellie] How many damn gunshots do I gotta listen to?”
Nellie: “You should buy something nice for yourself. They don’t need more stupid toys.”
Kendra: [holding a box of hair dye] “This is all I buy for myself.”
Nellie: “Well, buying them new video games ain’t gonna bring Junior back.”
Kendra: “Amos is back, you know. You should go and see him.”
Nellie: “I don’t know. It’s probably gonna weird me out.”
Kendra: “He looked good. Better than everyone said.”
Kendra: “You already break that?”
Owen: “No, I’ll fix it. It fell on the ground. [pauses] Are we rich now?”
Kendra: “You see all those bills on the table? Why are you asking that?”
Owen: “Well, because of Dad. Are we richer now?”
Kendra: “Well, sure. I mean, there’s a little extra money they gave everyone.”
Owen: “I mean, that’s why you got us this thing and the Xbox?”
Kendra: “Why? Did someone say something to you?”
Owen: “No. They were just like, ‘Oh, that’s new.'”
Kendra: “Just ignore it. So many trashy kids in this town.”
Owen: “How long you gotta leave that crap in your hair?”
Kendra: “This crap? [Kendra begins to tease Owen with a bottle of hair dye.] You want some of this crap in your hair, huh?”
Owen: “[laughing] No!”
Kendra: “Come on, get out of here. Go put your brother to bed.”
Kendra: “Go on and brush your teeth, James, it’s 9 o’clock… What’s wrong?”
James: “I want dessert.”
Kendra: “You can have an ice cream sandwich, and that’s it. And the you’re gonna brush your teeth and get ready for bed, alright, buddy?… [to Owen] You want some?”
Owen: “No. I’m not hungry.”
Kendra: “Here you go. You guys gotta get back to going to bed at a decent hour. It’s gonna be a rude awakening on Monday.”
[Owen and Kendra are cleaning up after James has wet his bed.]
Kendra: “He do it again?”
Kendra: “That’s the third time this week. He’s a bundle of nerves lately. What’s wrong with him? He say anything to you?”
Owen: “No. Maybe if you’d stop babying him.”
Kendra: “You guys don’t tell anybody what’s going on in your heads, that’s what I think. You just keep it all in.”
Kendra: “You got work this morning, don’t you?”
Kendra: “Well, don’t linger at that place, okay? Just in and out.”
Owen: “Okay. I won’t.”
Kendra: “Don’t I get a hello?”
Kendra: “Are you hungry?”
Owen: “No, I got cereal.”
Kendra: “This place is a pigsty. You’re good at cleaning other people’s houses, but not your own?… I saw your employer at the hair salon. I gotta say my heart goes out to that woman. Not knowing is gotta be awful.”
Owen: “You think Bill Doyle’s gonna get in trouble?”
Kendra: “Don’t he deserve trouble?”
Owen: “Not if lightning struck the mine. They’re not as bad as everybody says.”
Kendra: “Who? The Doyles?”
Kendra: “Why? Coz they gave you a bike? What about all the things I’ve given you? Your father gave you?”
Owen: “What’s up your ass?”
Kendra: “Excuse me?? Don’t you talk to me like that… Where’s your fucking head at? Even when you’re here, you’re not here. I can’t do everything on my own.”
Owen: “This is stupid!”
[Owen storms out of the house.]
Kendra: “Where are you going??”
Select quotations regarding the film from Chloë Sevigny and her co-workers: Coming soon/not available.
Trivia coming soon/not available.
Little Accidents received a mixed response from critics during its festival round in 2014. Although frequently praised for its central acting performances and as the feature film debut of writer-director Sara Colangelo, the film was also described by some as bogged down by its slow reveals, bleak subject matter and unnecessary emotional dramatics.
• Rating: Internet Movie Database: 5.8/10 with c. 1,600 user votes counted
• Rating: MetaCritic: 56/100 metascore, “Mixed or average reviews”
• Rating: Rotten Tomatoes: 53% positive reviews (“Rotten”)
Excerpts from professional reviews:
“‘Little Accidents’ takes its time, but Holbrook’s confident performance makes his story riveting throughout, reflecting both the gravity of his situation and the enormous consequences his choice will have on the entire town — certain individuals in particular. Colangelo conveys to great effect the sense that everyone in the town is holding their breath, watching Amos’s every move, and Holbrook has such a powerful presence that the audience is compelled to do the same. [—] Colangelo demonstrates an excellent sense of atmosphere, and her world has a persistently authentic feel.”
– Mary Sollosi, Indiewire
“While the players do their level best — lead-for-all-intents-and-purposes Holbrook over-indicates like crazy in his early scenes but eventually settles into his role enough to generate some sympathy — the clichéd solemnity of almost each and every scene (the music score by Marcelo Zarvos, replete with single piano and violin notes that strive in their perfect isolation to connote extreme poignancy) and the predictability of the action put me in a bind; as much as my conscience wanted to empathize with the characters, my taste only wanted to be rid of them.”
– Glenn Kenny, RogerEbert.com
“It’s a lot of angst to pile onto a plate, and Colangelo doesn’t always know what to do with it. [—] Shot on location in real West Virginia coal-mining towns, the film does carry the American Gothic grit you expect to see in such places. Among the machinery of mining, the dense forest setting and the broken-down houses, the portrait of a languishing way of life emerges. Director of photography Rachel Morrison and the rest of the production crew, including production designer Chris Trujillo and costume designer Meghan Kasperlik, capture that sense of resignation and weariness. The look helps provide a little subtext, but not enough. For such an emotional piece, the dialogue stays too close to the surface. More problematic, the trio’s encounters feel contrived; you can see the filmmaker’s hand staging each one. Banks and particularly Holbrook have some nice moments as their characters try to salve wounds in a by-the-hour motel bed. Holbrook, one of the stars in the coming Netflix drama series ‘Narcos’, brings a haunted and deeply bruised quality to his miner, making Amos’ struggle — to walk, to talk, to forgive, to love — come alive on screen. Another surprise is young Lofland. So charming as one of the towheaded saviors of Matthew McConaughey’s “Mud,” Lofland wears roiling teenage emotions effortlessly. The film represents an interesting start for Colangelo, who is making her feature debut. To her credit, the writer-director tries for complexity. Now if she can just get the storytelling to match the quality of the filmmaking, I suspect there will be fewer little accidents.”
– Betsy Sharkey, The Los Angeles Times
Awards & Nominations
Little Accidents has received 2 awards and 12 award nominations.
• Hamptons International Film Festival Tangerine Entertainment Juice Award (2014): (Sara Colangelo)
• Napa Valley Film Festival Jury Award (2014): Best Ensemble Cast
• Hamptons International Film Festival Golden Starfish Award (2014): Narrative Feature (Sara Colangelo)
• Independent Spirit Award (2015): Best First Screenplay (Sara Colangelo)
• Karlovy Vary International Film Festival Independent Camera Award (2014): (Sara Colangelo)
• Little Rock Film Festival Golden Rock Narrative Award (2014): Best Feature Film (Sara Colangelo)
• Milano International Film Festival Leonardo’s Horse Award (2014): Best Actor (Boyd Holbrook)
• Milano International Film Festival Leonardo’s Horse Award (2014): Best Actress (Elizabeth Banks)
• Milano International Film Festival Leonardo’s Horse Award (2014): Best Cinematography (Rachel Morrison)
• Milano International Film Festival Leonardo’s Horse Award (2014): Best Director (Sara Colangelo)
• Milano International Film Festival Leonardo’s Horse Award (2014): Best Production Design (Chris Trujillo)
• Milano International Film Festival Leonardo’s Horse Award (2014): Best Supporting Actor (Jacob Lofland)
• Seattle International Film Festival Golden Space Needle Award (2014): Best Director (Sara Colangelo)
• Seattle International Film Festival Golden New American Cinema Award (2014): (Sara Colangelo)
Chloë Sevigny Online
Please note that the opinions expressed below are all 100% our own, not those of Chloë Sevigny or anyone affiliated with either her or the rest of the cast or crew.
Personally, as a film this didn’t really hit with me. Although there is something to be said for the authenticity the movie looks for in its slow-paced, careful study of the main characters, the movie really does come almost to a full stop sometimes in such a way that I struggled to maintain interest already halfway through. The premise has potential — a small community is reeling after a major industrial accident and its people cracking under the pressures of the aftermath — yet instead of hoping for relief and justice for the people touched by the many tragedies of the story, I frequently found myself not feeling any sympathy for many of the characters, not the least of which were the entitled Diane (Elizabeth Banks) and her lamblike husband (Josh Lucas). Although the final climactic unraveling of events is a powerful emotional moment, somehow getting there feels like too much work, and ultimately I stopped caring whether or not the movie’s crises would even be resolved.
As Kendra, Chloë Sevigny turns in a solid and committed performance, but unfortunately her character is neither particularly remarkable nor relevant, which feels like a bit of a waste of her abilities. Although Kendra is given some room in the movie, it is mostly to develop the complexities of Owen’s character, while her own role is limited to that of the concerned, toiling mother, and this feels a bit weak given what Chloë can do as an actress. That said, her connection with Jacob Lofland’s Owen feels authentic throughout the film, and Kendra’s many struggles as a newly and unexpectedly single mother definitely carry over from the film. If only her character had been given more to do… -Admin
Our rating of the movie: ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
Our rating of Chloë’s performance: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
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