Little Accidents

In a small American coal town living in the shadow of a recent mining accident, the disappearance of a teenage boy draws three people together—a surviving miner, the lonely wife of a mine executive, and a local boy—in a web of secrets.


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  • ★★★★★ review by Ken Rudolph on Letterboxd

    The film opens with a shot of a tram filled with coal miners descending into a mine in a small West Virginia town. It is soon disclosed that there had been a mine explosion - 10 victims and only one badly injured survivor, Amos (an effectively subtle performance by Boyd Holbrook). The film tells the story of three affected families: the survivor and his ill father, the wife and young sons of one of the dead miners, and the company man and his wife and son who may be scapegoated for following the negligent company's policies. That is the set up for a low-budget indie film that works on every level: affecting script, wonderfully nuanced acting, sure-handed direction by first-time director Sara Colangelo. The cast is remarkable: Elizabeth Banks and Josh Lucas play the anguished management couple. Chloe Sevigni is the set-upon widow, and Jacob Lofland plays her son. Young Lofland has already made a name for himself in the film Mud and the TV series "Justified," and here he is the beating heart of a town reeling from tragedy and searching for redemption. This little gem of a film is a must-see.

  • ★★★½ review by Andy Gyurisin on Letterboxd

    Sara Colangelo’s LITTLE ACCIDENTS is a story about redemption, social hierarchy, and the devils that root around in us all. Told through three distinct voices, Colangelo centers her story around a traumatic event at a local mine and the ripple effect that it has within a small town community. Amos Jenkins (Boyd Holbrook) is the lone survivor of this tragic event and must juggle both physical recovery as well as being pulled from every angle, from those wanting to keep their jobs to those hoping to be compensated. Elizabeth Banks (removing her HUNGER GAMES make-up for a deeper role) portrays Diane Doyle, the wife of the mine executives who spirals into a depression after the disappearance of her son (maybe linked to the mine disaster), and there is the amazing Jacob Lofland (of MUD fame) who heartbreakingly becomes a victim of “bad luck” which ultimately pulls these key players closer together. Through quiet frames, intense performances, and a refreshingly straight-forward story, Colangelo builds a film that demonstrates the vigor and frailty of humanity. It is a sad film to experience. The simplistic nature of the events is the double-edged sword here. While I liked how honest the film fest, the pacing at times dragged. The underutilization of Chloe Sevigny saddened me, but it was a minor flaw in an otherwise strong initial outing. The brutal honesty of emotion conveyed by our principal cast can be applauded, which demonstrated the power Colangelo had behind the camera in controlling the scenes. Growing up in Virginia, hearing about the disasters in local West Virginia mines, this resonated strongly.

    Finally, as one of our group mentioned after leaving this screening, “Chocolate shakes build courage”. Could there be a truer statement?

  • ★★★½ review by Panta Oz on Letterboxd

    An American drama directed and written by Sara Colangelo, based on her own 2010 award-winning short film of same name, was so slow at the beginning that I almost quit watching it. But regret would be the result if I did it. Luckily, I enjoyed the performances of the stars Elizabeth Banks, Boyd Holbrook, Chloë Sevigny and Josh Lucas, so much that I went through that part without real difficulties and later really enjoyed the film scenes!

    Everything is happening in a small American town. Mining accident is still overshadowing everything going on in it. Every person is still trying to learn how to cope with the, but the disappearance of a teenage boy brings together a surviving miner, the lonely wife of a mine executive, and a local boy in a web of secrets.

    Interesting directing was an advantage, but I would prefer maybe more discipline in directing and camera work – still, it is high quality film which started with low expectations.

  • ★★★½ review by Andrew Johnson on Letterboxd

    The title of director Sara Colangelo’s feature debut, Little Accidents, is both misleading and perfectly appropriate. Most of its events are far from “little” in their impact, yet they stem from split-second, completely innocuous choices. The decisions that seem small, and perhaps even justified, lead to the most troubling moral quandaries. Are tragedies truly accidents, if it seems so easy to assign blame? Colangelo deftly explores that intersection of fate and personal responsibility, and the result is an intriguing web of secrets, even if she doesn’t quite stick the landing.

    Full Review at Movie Mezzanine:

  • ★★★½ review by Tripp Burton on Letterboxd

    First-time director Sara Colangelo deserves a lot of credit for keeping what could be an overly-melodramatic small time story largely steaming under a lid. The big events of the film happen off screen, or in one very effective scene through muted glass, instead letting us stay with the characters and go through their conflicting processes of grief. The script seems to hit every cliche, but never does so in a way that seems worn or merely for dramatic effect. Instead, it feels natural and grounded. A strong first film, and I am excited to see where Colangelo goes next.

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