Written and directed by: Sara Colangelo
Not long after a tragic mining accident, in a quiet West Virginia town, a teenage boy (and son of the coal mining company manager that many blame for the deaths of the workers) goes missing. The only person who knows what happened to him is Owen (Lofland) who’s father died in the accident, leaving him to take care of his grieving mother (Sevigny) and his handicapped brother (Wright). Meanwhile, the workers union begins pressuring Amos Jenkins (Holbrook), the only survivor of the accident, to go after the company. Amos is plagued by not only the physical damage he sustained in the accident but by the guilt he feels at the thought of being the only survivor and possibly shutting down the town’s only means of financial well being. Amos’ and Owen’s lives intersect with the missing boy’s mother (and wife of the company manager) Diane (Banks) and the three of them all begin to learn difficult lessons in guilt, responsibility, and doing the right thing.
Last year, I was surprised and blown away by a first time feature film from a talented, female writer/director (“The Midnight Swim, Sarah Adina Smith). To this point, this year, that accomplishment goes to Sara Colangelo. The atmosphere she has created in this film is quite impressive. It is a world that is as dirty as the coal in the mines within it, but also deftly shows the underlying tension between classes in a small working class town.
The whole cast is good, but it is certainly Lofland and Holbrook that steal the show. Both give deep, fearless performances. I am extremely impressed with Jacob Lofland who was dropped into an immensely talented cast. He does more than hold his own. In fact he shoulders much of the weight of the film, and is the most sympathetic character throughout.
I love films That are far outside of the mainstream blockbusters that plague theaters, and “Little Accidents” is definitely that. My only complaint here is that some of the characters were not flushed out enough. The ending didn’t allow for much if any closure with any of the characters outside of Owen. That is a small issue though in the midst of what is a terrific first film. I will immediately be adding Sara Colangelo to my list of directors to keep an eye on. So should you.