Lives collide in well-acted indie 'Little Accidents'

Tom Long
The Detroit News

There are no little accidents in "Little Accidents," a dark, well-acted indie in which lives collide and secrets can't hold.

Disaster has struck a small coal mining town. Ten men have died in a mining accident that left only one survivor, Amos Jenkins (Boyd Holbrook in a wonderfully natural and devastating performance). Months after the accident, Amos is released from the hospital, still partly paralyzed on his left side, but able to walk.

Amos quickly realizes he's in an uncomfortable situation. The families of the victims want him to testify about unsafe work conditions so they can get big settlements. The rest of the town wants him to keep his mouth shut, fearing the mine might be shut down.

Also feeling the disaster's repercussions is teen Owen (Jacob Lofland from "Mud"), whose father was killed in the accident. He scrapes by with his mother (Chloe Sevigny) and brother Jimmy (Beau Wright), who has Down syndrome.

Amos is just back home when the town is rocked by the disappearance of a teenage boy, the son of Diane Doyle (Elizabeth Banks) and her husband Bill (Josh Lucas), the coal mine middle manager many blame for the disaster. Is he a runaway? Is it retribution?

As answers surface, Amos, Diane and Owen find their damaged selves drawn to one another, each offering refuge in some way but each also holding back.

Writer-director Sara Colangelo conjures up a fine small-town atmosphere, with all the comfort, bitterness and desperation that implies, and lets things tangle and then unravel at a natural pace. Nothing feels forced in this movie, which is testament to Colangelo's skill as well as the cast's. You believe the coal dust on these people; you grieve for their secrets.

'Little Accidents'


Not rated

Running time: 105 minutes

"Little Accidents" (Not rated) A teenager goes missing in a small town just after ten men die in a coal mining accident in this dark, atmospheric, well-acted indie starring Elizabeth Banks and Boyd Holbrook. (105 minutes) GRADE: B