Best Picture Profile: The Accidental Tourist

Directed by: Lawrence Kasdan

Company: Warner Bros. Pictures

Runtime: 121 minutes


The Accidental Tourist is about Macon Leary, a travel guide book writer, whose life is in its lowest when, while still in grief after his son’s death, his wife Sarah asked for a divorce. With only a dog as his company, he moves in to his family for a while, including a loveless sister whose dedication to the family seems to end when she fell in love with Macon’s publisher, Julian.

Enter Muriel Pritchett, a bubbly dog trainer whose joy is a mere mask that she uses when she meets people in order to hide the fact that she lives a really hard life because of her hardwork for her sickly son.

When they meet, they thought it would be just a simple friendship between the dog trainer and the dog owner. But when things collide, they are already in for a romantic relationship. At the same time, Sarah wants to make it up to him by coming back to him. Now, he is torn between his wife and his new love.

The film is undeniably slow. And I understand those who criticize the movie by it. But I didn’t mind it, but let’s be honest: it’s a bore for the first time.

And that’s the benefit of rewatching it, since there are a lot of things in this film that you won’t appreciate if you wouldn’t watch it for the first time.

First, the direction is a very carefully handled one. Right from the start of the film, what we have is a very quiet film with a lot of subtlety in it. You may fall for it, maybe not, but it’s an all-the-way thing in the movie: subtlety. And the movie has this always “grieving” mood even if the characters are happy, sometimes funny. It underlines the sadness that we can feel from the main character.

I don’t know how to express the degree of subtlety it contains in the direction. It’s very different from Dangerous Liaisons: that one has a really fast-paced direction, while this one is a film that you could accuse of having no direction at all.

Anyway, the direction is lovely and subtle, sometimes too subtle, but it all fits in the story.

The story is a really good one. The film is about a man, and it’s about death, so the main goal is to not make it look like cheese because drama easily falls for cheese. And for this kind of film with small laughs, it’s really cheese-prone. But no. What we have here, like the direction, is subtlety. It brings us to some small but not totally surprising twists, but the story is so strong that it’s hard-hitting.

The cinematography is really a good one. It’s a quiet movie, and not just in terms of sound, because it really was, but also in the visual part. And there’s this simplicity in it that makes it shine. I just feel that there is something different on how it was shot that it looked so soft. I mean the texture is so soft and delicate.

Anyway, the editing is really good. It’s a crucial part of the movie because it’s a very slow story and yet, you need to keep someone viewing it because it’s almost painful to watch this, not because it’s so slow, but because the sufferings of the main character is so hard to take. Anyway, it’s quite good.

Nothing much to say to the technical part of the movie since it’s really doing the basics. Well, except for the playful and melodic musical score. The  same music pattern is recurring throughout the film, but it was able to convey a lot of emotions.

Now, what we have here is a very good cast.

Kathleen Turner, Amy Wright, Bill Pullman, and Geena Davis were able to deliver performances that were appropriate, accomplished, and most of all, subtle, as the spirit of the film was.

Now, Geena Davis is an Oscar winner that is completely debatable since it has a stronger competition and of the fact that it’s not really much of a demanding role. But the good thing about her performance is that it is that her performance was relaxed and subtle. Now talk about the quirk.

The attitude of the character doesn’t set the movie off-balance, unlike Whoopi Goldberg’s sensational work in Ghost that, even great, turned thhe movie off-balance in a bit. Even then, I’m not sure if Davis really deserves to win, but I’m sure she brings a radiant and beautifully-delivered performance that lives up to the movie.

Now, William Hurt gives one of the most complicated performances ever, if not one of the best. What we see here is a character without much external conflict. Instead, it’s a character full of internal conflicts. All of the troubles he is having is all happening inside him. He seems to be very calm, but the sense of a man shouting at the top of his lungs all of his troubles is what I really feel in his performance.

He cries a bit, but the eyes is just full of…. ugh! Full of sorrow. And you just want to go there and make every way to ease his sadness because truthfully, it hurts to see him have that problem. It’s because of his natural charisma that he brings everytime he is onscreen. It’s not a forced performance.

It’s quiet but intense work from one of the best actors of the 80’s.

And by the way: the ending was pitch-perfect. I couldn’t have imagined a better ending than that.

Anyway, amidst all of the praises I could give to the film, the thing that goes against it is that it was too proper. Not sure if it was really a problem, since the film is very well-made. But I don’t know if I could really say it was a milestone. No wonder many people have already forgotten it.

But I just can’t deny the beauty this film possesses.

For this, the movie gets


What are your thoughts, dear reader?


6 thoughts on “Best Picture Profile: The Accidental Tourist

    • I myself slept on it then first time I watched, but maybe if you’ll watch it again, you may notice some details that you may appreciate. But it’s really hard to love this film. And I understand people who hate this because it’s so slow.

      Anyway, hope you’ll like it this time around since I liked it more when I watched it for the 3rd time!


    • Well said! I believe people always describe the film as quirky. Simply quirky. Of course, sometimes, it is, but people tend to forget the drama packed in it.

      And I just did! Really well written and well-put. 🙂


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