Little Accidents

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
Little Accidents Movie Poster Image
Slow, somber drama about secrets has drinking, language.
  • NR
  • 2015
  • 105 minutes

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

All the main characters in this film are keeping secrets, which takes a toll on them. But the truth is freeing.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Two people who are keeping big secrets eventually decide they must tell the truth, even if it will be difficult for them and cause pain and suffering for others.


Family members argue. Kids get into a shoving match that leads to a tragic accident.


A married woman has an affair with one of her husband's employees. They frequently meet up in a local motel, and though viewers never see them do more than kiss, they're often shown in bed, under the covers, getting dressed or showering together (no sensitive parts shown).


Frequent-but-not-constant swearing includes "f--k," "s--t," and "a--hole."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Several scenes include people drinking, including adults socializing at a bar, a couple drinking while they relax at the end of the day, and teens getting drunk in the woods. There's beer, whiskey, and wine; one sequence has a lot of people downing shots.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Little Accidents is a moody drama about a small town that's been deeply affected by a tragic mining accident and how some of those impacted try to get their lives back on track. Characters keep big secrets and find solace in the most unlikely places, somber themes that may not resonate as well for teens. Expect strong language ("f--k," "s--t," and "a--hole"), quite a lot of drinking (including some by teens), and kissing between characters who are having an affair. They're shown in bed and showering together, but there's no simulated sex or sensitive body parts on display. Kids shove each other.

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What's the story?

A small coal-mining town is still reeling from a horrific accident that left several local miners dead and families wracked when another incident threatens to truly shatter the community's fragile existence: a mining executive's (Josh Lucas) teenage son disappears. The teen's mother (Elizabeth Banks), lost, confused, and in pain, befriends the sole survivor of the accident (Boyd Holbrook) and a boy who knows more than he's letting on about her missing child. As the three characters get closer to each other, their secrets start to take a toll.

Is it any good?

A thick sense of doom permeates writer-director Sara Colangelo's LITTLE ACCIDENTS. Just about everyone in town is still in mourning from the mining accident when the teen disappears. Clearly, there's not much more that can happen to break them, especially those at the heart of the tragedy. From the deceased miners' families to the executive blamed for the incident to the local teens who know that the world as they knew it has shifted, Colangelo paints a revealing (if somber) picture.

But what's it all about? The film is strangely lacking in momentum. Characters carry themselves grimly throughout, overwhelmed but curiously undeveloped. When they finally decide to unburden themselves of the big secrets they've been keeping, it's tough to see what spurred their revelations. What motivates them? Banks is heartbreaking as a grieving mother and mostly ignored wife, but her subsequent choices puzzle. Others' journeys lack an arc, too, and the film stays glum from start to finish.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about secrets. Which characters are hiding something in Little Accidents, and how does it affect them? What about others? What is the film saying about keeping secrets vs. telling the truth?

  • What role does drinking play in the characters' lives? Are there realistic consequences?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love drama

Themes & Topics

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