A strange combination of science-fiction and romance make for an intriguing and original film which uses cliché to its advantage.


Happy Accident is essentially a standard time-travel movie. A man, Sam Deed (Vincent D’Onfrio) travels back from the distant future in order to save the life of a Ruby (Marisa Tomei) and, ultimately the future of mankind.

What’s interesting about this film however is the way it chooses to tell the story by focuses on the woman and her view of events rather than that of the time-travellers. Imagine if you will Back to The Future told entirely from young Lorraine’s perspective – her dad runs over a mysterious, handsome and purple underweared boy who seemingly has no family but is also strangely familiar this boy then… forgive me for getting carried away but that is a film I really want to see now.


Anyway, we are introduced to Tomei’s character through her psychiatrist as she tells the story of her latest relationship, the one with Sam Deed. In the flashbacks of the relationships we see her fall in love with this ‘fish out of water’, finding his lack of social know-how both odd and appealing. The fact that he’s afraid of dogs, doesn’t understand technology and (luckily) doesn’t know who Anthony Michael Hall is, comes across as endearing to Ruby, after a string of other bad relationships.

Of-course Ruby eventually discovers the truth and through Sam’s stories we get a glimpse of a dystopian future destroyed by climate change. Everything described in Sam’s version of the future is from a clichéd angle, he paints of portrait of the worst sci-fi futures possible but somehow sells it to the audience. This is probably down to the passion D’Onofrio brings to role as the characters belief also makes the film strangely believeable.


This use of cliché is exactly what makes the film work, as we are more interested in the characters than the story anyhow. Having a plot that keeps it simple allows the audience to focus on what they want, which is the relationship between the two leads. The story embraces predictability and uses it as a life-force to turn it into a unique and interesting take on Time Travel. The film also has one of the most erotic, and out-of-place, explanations of time travel that you’re likely to see.

Happy Accidents though for all its fantasticness suffers from its lack of defined genre… I’m sure that a fan of rom-coms would find this films use of sci-fi uninteresting, whereas a sci-fi fan might see the romantic elements as boring. It is a strange mix that even when watching takes some getting used to, but when you do it’s a wonderful experience.