Thursday, April 16, 2015

Elizabeth Banks in LITTLE ACCIDENTS

This will be another blog post of mine in praise of women filmmakers.  I saw an independent film to review on Arise TV but our show got pre-empted.  I want to recommend it for weekend viewing because the performances moved me.  The drama is called LITTLE ACCIDENTS, a drama written and directed by with economy and skill by Sara Colangelo.  Elizabeth Banks plays the lead female character.  I'd known Ms. Banks from comedies -- the movie Zack and Miri Make a Porno.  She starred opposite Seth Rogen in that one.  I also knew her from very funny sitcom work on episodes of Scrubs, 30 Rock and Modern Family.  Director Sara Colangelo drew a dramatic performance out of Elizabeth Banks in this drama that woke me up to the actress' range and depth.  She plays the conflicted wife of a mining company executive in a small town.
Taking responsibility.  Admitting the truth.  Those are not always easy things to do.  But they are things we, at critical moments in our lives, need to do.  We see characters grapple with those needs to do the right thing in this story.  A mining disaster occurred in the small town.  Were safety precautions in place?  This is Appalachian territory where blue collar folks work despite probable danger because they live paycheck to paycheck.                                                                                                                  
Slim, soft-spoken Amos (played by Boyd Holbrook) is the lone survivor of the mining tragedy. The town is in grief.  Next, the young son of the mining executive and his wife disappears.  The town experiences heartbreak on top of heartbreak.  Also, there's anger. Could the mine have been safer?  Was the executive irresponsible?  Will Amos have to testify?  The financially comfortable executive and his wife must keep up a caring appearance for the town.  We sense emotional distance in their marriage.
Amos comes in contact with the unhappy wife, Diane.  They're of different educational backgrounds.  Different social classes.  Yet, they're bonded in their broken hearts.  Yes, it's a melodramatic story but the acting is mighty fine and holds your interest.  The scene in the parking lot with Elizabeth Banks and Boyd Holbrook -- that's where I said to myself, "Wow, Elizabeth Banks.  Wow.  You are good."  Praise goes to Holbrook too.
This film could've had a big mining disaster scene in which men perished.  But it doesn't.  It wasn't needed.  We see the emotional toll it took.  That's the economy I referred to in Sara Colangelo's writing and direction.  The disaster comes through Amos' soul, the restrained way he carries himself --  he's like a prayer that's gone unanswered -- and the aftermath of the disaster comes through in the choices he makes.  Little Accidents is not a great movie but it sure has good performances and it well-made.  Banks' final scene hits the heart.  I hope we see more from director/writer Sara Colangelo. The entire cast is good.  The actors make this worth your while.

I wanted to recommend Little Accidents, now on DVD, because I saw a trailer for an upcoming biopic and Elizabeth Banks is in it. The movie opens this summer.  It's about The Beach Boys, the hit 1960s pop/rock group with the sunny Southern California surfer sound in its music.  The music may have been sunny but the band's family life wasn't.

Love & Mercy looks at the troubled and reclusive life of the Beach Boys gifted singer/songwriter, Brian Wilson.  Here's a trailer.

Elizabeth Banks -- she's not just funny.  She's got impressive dramatic skills as well.

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