Set in a 1980s New England suburb, director Andrew Lancaster's stunning debut is a bittersweet drama revolving around a dysfunctional family coping with the consequences of a tragedy. Since he was a young child, Billy Conway has inexplicably been a witness to terrible accidents. When one such accident claims the life of one Conway child and leaves another severely brain-damaged, the weight of holding the family together falls on Billy's shoulders. Dad has moved out, leaving Billy with his difficult brother and bitter mother. Billy, always the good child, begins to stray when he becomes friends with the neighborhood troublemaker, but this surprising bad behavior may lead his family to move on from the past.
Lancaster infuses a magical atmosphere into Accidents Happen
with a vivid visual style and striking production design that coat the story with an ethereal quality. Geena Davis is brilliant as Billy's mother, delivering a performance full of nuance while at the same time vitalizing the biting humor laced in screenwriter Brian Carbee's script. And bright newcomer Harrison Gilbertson portrays Billy perfectly as an adolescent caught in the collision of guilt, family responsibility, and self-discovery.