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Happy Accidents

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Happy Accidents

It is not often a movie catches me by surprise, but Happy Accidents managed to do so. I was expecting a romantic comedy, with Vincent D'Onofrio and Marisa Tomei as charming leads. And the movie was a romantic com/dram, but it turned out to have a few twists that made the movie into something a little more than just a quirky romance.

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I don't want to build it up only to have a viewer's expectations crushed; it is not a great film. The leads are charismatic, the story is well done and the romance, maybe not as believable as some romcoms, but it worked for me. Where it stands apart is the characters discuss destiny, time travel and trust, and one begins to wonder about the eccentric story D'Onofrios character weaves.


Happy Accidents and Happy Endings

As with all romantic comedies, the ending lives or dies by how committed and entangled you think the characters are. Two hours is a short time to develop a lasting love and demonstrate it on the screen. Tomei's Ruby Weaver is shown to have had a series of failed, mostly enabling/co dependent relationships. D'Onofrio's Sam Deed is a genuinely nice guy, smart, nerdly, endearingly naïve, employed, but not seemingly in need of saving. We don't wonder why she is attracted to him, and later, when he loses his apartment, we accept she lets him move in.

Click to reveal..
When things start getting strange, when Sam reveals he thinks he's from the future, we see Ruby's earlier white night impulses kick in. Her girlfriends encourage her to stick with him, figuring he is role-playing and Ruby becomes more and more deeply entangled in Sam's story. It is a story he seems deeply invested in. At some point during the story, my wife and I began to accept it as true. By the time he is sent to see her therapist, I assumed we would find out the therapist was a “backtraveler” too, rather than show us Sam is lying.

In fact, he is telling the truth. And he is heavily invested in saving Ruby from an impending death. He has only a photo of her he found in the future and the guess she is in New York that leads him to her. And once he meets her he does fall in love. He hopes the newly created emotional energy will change time's flow and save her.

I recommend the movie as something a bit different if you're looking for a romance. Sam Deed gets into multiple discussion with high people, scientists and every day folk about time, fate and science, as someone who uses tools but doesn't understand how they work. He quotes theories he only partially grasps and he perseveres with his belief in the face of at times hostile dismissals.

Also Anthony Michael Hall appears. While possibly not as good as an appearance by fucking NPH, it was nice to see him again.

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