Happy Accidents

Movie review by
Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
Happy Accidents Movie Poster Image
Tangy romantic comedy plays sly games.
  • R
  • 2001
  • 110 minutes

Parents say

age 17+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.


Some violence, including apparent fatal accident.


Sexual references and non-graphic situations, no nudity.


Very strong language.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters drink and get drunk, smoking, marijuana.

What 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byjessie31 August 26, 2010
Wow.....seems nice!!!!

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

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.

Talk to your kids 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

Our editors recommend

For kids who love romance

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