Happy Accidents Movie Poster Image

Happy Accidents



Tangy romantic comedy plays sly games.
  • Review Date: May 19, 2003
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2001
  • Running Time: 110 minutes

What parents need to know


Some violence, including apparent fatal accident.


Sexual references and non-graphic situations, no nudity.


Very strong language.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Characters drink and get drunk, smoking, marijuana.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this movie has very strong language, sexual references and situations (not explicit), drinking (including references to alcoholism), smoking, and drug use. A character is in peril and there is a scary accident.

Kids say

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What's the story?

In HAPPY ACCIDENTS, Ruby (Marisa Tomei) and her friends keep a box of pictures of former boyfriends, as they try to sort through the weirdoes and creeps. They tell themselves that they aren't even looking for Prince Charming anymore, just someone who is not too crazy and will be nice to them. When Ruby meets Sam Deed (Vincent D'Onofrio), he seems too good to be true. He may have some quirks, but he I sweet and tender and crazy about Ruby, and that seems enough for a while. Until she hears that he is a time traveler, born 400 years from now, when Iowa is on the ocean, and he's traveled back in time to be with Ruby because he saw her picture in an antique store. Is he crazy? Is he sick? Is he really from the future? And, most important, does that mean he can't be her boyfriend?

Is it any good?


This is a tangy romantic comedy that plays sly games of its own with time as the story unfolds. While it is not quite up to the writer/director's previous Next Stop Wonderland, it is a charming love story and a lot of fun. Tomei and D'Onofrio are terrific, as are Holland Taylor as Ruby's therapist, Tovah Feldshuh as her mother, and Anthony Michael Hall as himself.

There's a line in Splash that I thought of when I watched this movie. Tom Hanks plays a sweet guy who falls in love with a girl who turns out to be a mermaid. Utterly deflated when he finds out the truth, he says, "I don't understand. All my life I've been waiting for someone, and when I find her -- she's a fish!" The charm of that comment is that it is a metaphor for the way many people feel when they fall in love and have to grapple with the high-wire balancing act between intimacy and independence. That is certainly true of Ruby in Happy Accidents.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how we look at the risks of falling in love and how to get close to someone without losing ourselves.

Movie details

Theatrical release date:August 24, 2001
DVD release date:December 17, 2002
Cast:Marisa Tomei, Marty Davey, Vincent D'Onofrio
Director:Brad Anderson
Run time:110 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:language

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What parents and kids say

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Adult Written byjessie31 August 26, 2010
Wow.....seems nice!!!!
What other families should know
Too much sex
Great role models


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