Happy Accidents, directed by Brad Anderson

[asa left]B00006SFKM[/asa] So how did I miss this movie when it came out in 2002? I just watched it (thank you, Netflix) and immediately went to check it out on the web. It’s got consistently good reviews, so I’m mystified. Especially as I have been keeping an eye out for Vincent D’Onofrio since I saw The Whole Wide World (one of the saddest movies ever).

This is an odd story that defies cubbyholing. Is it a straight romance? Is it a postmodern jumble of self-observation and distorting mirrors? Is it sci-fi?

There is a love story here. Ruby has a history of getting involved in codependent relationships. Along comes Sam Deed, a sweet, caring, nice guy from Dubuque who is adrift in Manhattan. So very adrift that Ruby starts wondering if there’s something up with Sam; her therapist (in a gorgeous apartment overlooking Central Park) sees him as more of a bad habit.

But there’s more going on. Ruby finds clues, and confronts Sam. Sam responds with a story that sends her into despair. This sweet guy, her Sam, is really nuts. Delusional, or if she takes him for what he claims to be: a time traveller.

You really don’t know what to think about Sam right until the end of the movie. In fact, I’m still sorting it all out in my head. It’s the kind of story where you want to go back and pay attention to the clues you missed the first time, ala The Sixth Sense. There was only one false note in the whole movie, and it had to do with the therapist. And I’ll leave that as enough said.

In the meantime, Happy Accidents is that elusive beast, a good date movie, fun and thought provoking, well written, beautifully shot and edited, with good performances all around.