The Accidental Tourist

Warner Bros. Pictures

Drama Romance Comedy
121 min     6.2     1988     USA


After the death of his son, travel writer Macon Leary seems to be sleep walking through life. Macon's wife is having similar problems. They separate, and Macon meets a strange, outgoing woman who brings him 'back down to earth', but his wife soon thinks their marriage is still worth another try.


Peter McGinn wrote:
** I recently watched this movie again after several years and will add just a few small edits *** This is a quiet and quirky movie, and may not appeal to some viewers. Certainly it differs from 95% of the movies being made these days. But what the heck, our tastes are all different, right? William Hurt gives the restrained performance the role calls for, playing a man who has disconnected from his feelings so as to avoid the pain of thinking of his deceased son. He writes travel books for people who don't want to "go local" when they travel to other countries, but rather want to feel as comfortable as if they never left home. His character's siblings are even more eccentric than he is. I won't spoil anything by saying how. I will say that near the beginning of the movie is a scene between Macon and his wife about loss through violence that resonates in this age of mass shootings. William Hurt is at his best as Macon, wound up tight and denying the presence of emotions. Kathleen Turner is good as his wife. The movie has its share of slightly off center characters, in a good way, and Macon’s brothers and sister are no exception. You will perhaps recognize David Ogden Stivers and Ed Bagley Jr. in two of those roles. Geena Davis plays the wild card in this movie, an unconventional dog trainer who somehow sees something in William Hurt's character to want to try to pull him out of himself. Geena won an academy award for her role, as I recall, if you care about such things. Her character is, yes, you guessed it, also eccentric, so that might be a lot for the average viewer to take in. They could have done a bit more with her son, as he almost seems like plot device at times than a character. They might have overdone it on his allergies. Geena Davis is perfect as Muriel, who is at once flaky but solid when it is important to be. Her face is expressive. In fact, without spoiling anything, right near the end you see her facial expression change and show her feelings much more effectively than giving her 25 quirky words. Another quiet difference about this movie is the soundtrack. It doesn’t go the Big Chill or most other movie routes: cherry-picking pop or rock hits to accompany scenes for thirty seconds each and then gather on a soundtrack album. Instead, at certain times during the movie, the instrumental thread of music introduced at the beginning is repeated to stress the scene. It is a nice touch. This movie is a quirky sum of all the quirky characters, so give it a try; it might all grow on you.