Accidental Tourist (1988)
(based on the novel by Anne Tyler):
third Lawrence Kasdan/William
is an unconventional and arduous but ultimately rewarding film that
treats life like the bumpy struggle that it is – add a little pessimism.
After losing a son to a brutal, meaningless murder and subsequently a
wife who has grown tired of their faltering marriage, tour guide writer
Macon Leary has to pick himself up and find a way to heal his
dysfunctional existence. The cure might just be Muriel, the
free-spirited, direct woman he meets at the local kennel.
Hurt retains his typical formal, intellectual persona, but removes all
his usual wit, spirits and confidence for his portrayal of Macon Leary. The
result is a remarkably constrained and dense performance. Macon is a
pain to watch, but we never give up on him. Geena Davis is a breath of
fresh and uncontrollable air by his side. Unpolished and clumsy, but
full of life. Add to that a family trapped in the 'Leary groove', and
Kasdan brings to screen a skewed take on life filled with people that
are in states of mind that you never want to find yourself, but that
you'll still more or less recognize. Kasdan's
from Anne Tyler's novel is a testament to why converting books to film
can be both very rewarding and very challenging. Kasdan's achievement is
that his objective is to go all the way – there are no compromises here.
And although The Accidental Tourist might threaten to wear the
viewer out, it also will have something out of the ordinary to offer.
It's a depressing feel-good movie.