Accidents Happen (DVD)

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Accidents Happen (DVD)

Accidents Happen is a 2009 Australian coming-of-age comedy drama film directed by Andrew Lancaster and starring Geena Davis, Harrison Gilbertson, Harry Cook, Sebastian Gregory, Joel Tobeck, and Sarah Woods. Written by Brian Carbee, based on his own childhood and adolescence, the story revolves around an accident-prone teenage boy and his family. The film was shot in Sydney, New South Wales, over June – July 2008, and opened in Australia on 22 April 2010.

At the ARIA Music Awards of 2010 the soundtrack was nominated for ARIA Award for Best Original Soundtrack, Cast or Show Album.


In 1974, the Conway family are at a drive-in theater in Connecticut watching The Three Stooges. The parents are Gloria (Geena Davis), a foul-mouthed and strict mother who will always take responsibility over the family, Ray (Joel Tobeck), an easy-going father, and siblings Linda, Gene, Larry (Harry Cook), and Billy (Harrison Gilbertson), who is an accident-prone child. In the meantime, the Conways neighbor, Douglas Doug Post (Sebastian Gregory), whom Gloria hates and often calls him names because he is the one who causes problems that could be offensive towards the family, drives by on his bike, and Gene leads him up to the top of the drive-in screen. Gene then proceeds to urinate out of the screen. While an infuriated Gloria trips as she approaches the screen, infuriated and confused guests honk at Gene and Doug. While driving back home in the rain, an argument among two of the children distracts Ray, causing the car to collide with a pick-up truck. Although Gloria, Ray, Billy, and Larry suffer only minor injuries, Linda is killed and Gene is severely injured, leaving him brain damaged and paralyzed from the head down.

In 1982, eight years after the accident, Ray is divorced and more problems arise concerning Doug and Gene s condition, which could cause his death at any time. Fifteen-year-old Billy is still friends with Doug even after the accident. One night, an argument occurs over a TV dinner with Larry, now a belligerent and profane alcoholic. Billy accidentally knocks over the dinner and it lands on him, burning his back. When Doug overhears what is going on, he intervenes and gets into a short scuffle with Larry, as Billy blames his brother for the burn on his back. After streaking and robbing a convenience store, Billy and Doug are playing when he causes an almighty crash with a bowling ball and a moving car, killing Doug s father. Just a few days after the incident, Larry s incessant harassment causes Billy to fight against his older brother, and when Gloria breaks up the scuffle and discovers a gauze on Billy s back (after Billy knocked the TV dinner and injured himself, and on the newspapers regarding the robbery that Billy was wearing the gauze), Larry immediately tells her that Billy and Doug went streaking and stealing things as evidence, but is still taken away by Ray, who came to cause another argument with Gloria over their divorce. Because Billy has no way to hide any of the evidence, an incensed Gloria reprimands and admonishes him, permanently forbidding him from seeing Doug. Although she knows what Billy and Doug did, Gloria does not know they caused the car crash that killed Doug s father.

When Doug receives a mistaken note that his father committed suicide and that the insurance company does not pay for suicide, they decide that it is time to confess to the police as to what really happened. When Billy tells this to Gloria, she describes him as a selfish son and she slaps him across the face in disbelief and breaks down in tears. As the police interrogate Billy and Doug, the family receive word that Gene had finally died. It is then revealed that when Doug attended Gene s funeral, Gloria had forgiven him for what happened. The movie ends when Billy takes the bowling ball that was found after the fatal accident and rolls it down the sidewalk as Billy looks on.


  • Geena Davis as Gloria Conway
  • Harrison Gilbertson as Billy Conway
  • Harry Cook as Larry Conway
  • Ivy Latimer as Linda Conway
  • Joel Tobeck as Ray Conway
  • Sebastian Gregory as Doug Post
  • Sarah Woods as Dottie Post
  • Erik Thomson as Bob
  • Rebecca Massey as Louise
  • Morgan Griffin as Katrina
  • Wendy Playfair as Mrs. Smolensky


American-born screenwriter Brian Carbee wrote Accidents Happen based on his childhood in 1980s Connecticut, changing his own name to Billy Conway . He had previously performed in a one person show titled In Search of Mike, which director Andrew Lancaster saw and asked Carbee if he would adapt the show to a short film. Carbee subsequently wrote a novel which served as the basis for his Accidents Happen screenplay. He developed the screenplay through the prestigious Aurora Script Workshop in Sydney, where producer Anthony Anderson had worked and collaborated on his 2004 film Somersault. In 2004, the completed script was nominated for an Australian Inside Film Award for Best Unproduced Screenplay, but it took a further three years to gather finances for the project. Anderson, Carbee and Lancaster successfully applied for funding from Screen Australia on two occasions; they were granted A$18,000 in May 2003 to fund drafts of the script, and $50,000 in November 2007. In September 2005, Anderson traveled to New York City with three other Australian producers to meet with investors at No Borders Co-Production Market, a division of the Independent Feature Project Market in which filmmakers attempt to secure financing for their projects. The film was the first production from the Abacus Film Fund, co-founded by producer Heather Ogilvie and corporate advisers BG Capital Corporation. British production company Bankside Films of London also assisted in raising finances and is handling all international sales of the film. The filmmakers received a 40% rebate on all production costs from Screen Australia. Davis was the only American actor to be cast, in spite of the story s American setting; the rest of the cast is Australian, with feigned American accents.

My dad and I drove around Ku-ring-gai scouting locations. St Ives was chosen as the ideal spot for its deciduous trees and big front yards. If you pan the camera one way you get Connecticut, if you pan it the other way you get St Ives. We just had to make sure the gum trees weren t in shot.

Andrew Lancaster on St Ives standing in for Connecticut

Accidents Happen was originally intended to be filmed in Connecticut, where it is set, but production remained in Australia, where the script had been written, because finances were easier to raise than in the United States. Filming was slated to begin in April 2008 but was delayed until June. Lancaster said that he did a huge amount of technical preparation before filming began, so that on the set, he could focus his directing on the actors performances, since the cast were largely inexperienced. Principal photography commenced in early June with scenes shot on a built set at Sydney s Fox Studios. Most filming took place in and around Kuringgai, first on Gillian Parade in West Pymble for a week in late June and then Lincoln St, St Ives for 1–2 July. Lincoln St residents complained about possible disruptions to Ku-ring-gai Council, starting a petition to have production moved elsewhere, and threatening to play bagpipes and wave lights around during filming if it went on as planned. The council then offered a revised filming schedule, cutting filming down by two days and bringing each day s finishing time forward by an hour to 12:30 am, and the producers offered some residents a $500 payment to cover any inconveniences. Filming of the story s integral car-crash scene was relocated to another street after the discord.


Select footage of Accidents Happen was screened to potential distributors at the 2008 Toronto International Film Festival and was shown at the American Film Market in November 2008. The final cut of the film had its world premiere on 23 April 2009 at the Tribeca Film Festival and was screened in June 2009 at the Sydney Film Festival. It was shown in October 2009 at the Branchage Jersey Film Festival, the Cinéma des Antipodes festival in Saint Tropez, and the Sitges Film Festival.

Box office

Accidents Happen took in $157,131 at the box office in Australia.


Rotten Tomatoes, a review aggregator, reports that six of ten surveyed critics gave the film a positive review; the average rating was 5.5/10. Russell Edwards of Variety wrote, John Irving-style mishaps and labored irony fail to maintain drama or coherence in Accidents Happen, an Australian-made, faux-American dysfunctional-family black comedy.



Published Date


Age group

14 Up

Rating MPA


Recording Studio





Anthony Anderson, Bec Cubitt, Brian Carbee, Compton Ross, Graham Buckeridge, Heather Ogilvie, Miriam Stein




Image Entertainment

Amazon ASIN











1h 32min


Awards, 2 wins & 2 nominations


Andrew Lancaster


Brian Carbee


Geena Davis, Harrison Gilbertson, Harry Cook

Produced by

Anthony Anderson, Graham Buckeridge, Bec Cubitt, Phil Hunt, Heather Ogilvie, Compton Ross, Miriam Stein

Music by

Antony Partos

Cinematography by

Ben Nott

Film Editing by

Roland Gallois

Casting By

Kerry Barden, Anousha Zarkesh

Production Design by

Elizabeth Mary Moore

Art Direction by

Angus MacDonald

Set Decoration by

Richard Jensen

Costume Design by

Nina Edwards

Makeup Department

Wendy De Waal, Susy Kelly, Margaret Stevenson, Elka Wardega, Paul Williams

Production Management

Lorelle Adamson, Bec Cubitt, Simon Lucas, Stuart Monksfield, Nathaniel Purdon

Second Unit Director or Assistant Director

Jesse Allan, Deborah Antoniou, Danielle Blake, Andy Fernandez, John Martin

Art Department

Leon Batchelor, Marc Bergman, Sarah Fardell, Voula Kitziris, Shane Melder, Giles Morgan, Jason Schara, Kirsty Simmons, Ben Skinner, Katerina Stratos, Ben Walker, Gavin Walker, Madeleine Whitfield, Murray Wilkinson, Christian Winberg

Sound Department

Asha Ardill, Danielle Barron, Mark Blackwell, Benjamin Cheah, Bruce Emery, Mark Franken, Lee Kelly, Manel López, Ian McLoughlin, Roger Middenway, Jason Oliver, Liesl Pieterse, Troy Porter, Harry Roden, Ian Rumbell, Blair Slater, Gregg Swiatlowski, Richard Teague, Mario Vaccaro, Sethy Willie, Andy Wright

Special Effects by

Billy Aziz, Herman Bron, Ray Fowler, Tristan Hadden, Thomas Van Koeverden

Visual Effects by

Steve Anderson, Nick Angus, Emilie Boyard, Daniel Brown, David Brown, Melanie Byers, Matt Chance, Emma Clifton, Trevor Coates, Jayne da Costa, Mark Doney, Robert East, Vincent Fiere, Adam S. Jones, Tom King, Kosta Lagis, Steve Leacey, Jason Li, Duncan MacDonald, Kirsty Martin, Luke Parsons, Ron Roberts, Hugo Saunders, Scott Thomas


Raelene Chapman, Spike Cherrie, Stephen Dunlevy, Jennifer Fenton, Dean Gould, Jon Heaney, Nathan Lawson, Mark Le Cornv, Tony Lynch, Philip Partridge, Brett Praed

Camera and Electrical Department

Tobias Andreasson, Matthew Ayres, Craig Bartlett-Sweiger, Ian Barton, Kim Bland, David Brooks, Ashleigh Carter, Peter Critchley, Phiroze Dalal, Campbell Drummond, Ben Dugard, Steve Edwards, Andy Fernandez, Shannon Ford, Jim Frazier, Paul Jackson, Stephen Johnson, Pim Kulk, Luke Nixon, Ben Nott, Mick O Brien, Craig Perkins, Aaron Rapira, Mark Rogers, Bill Ross, Kevin Scott, Peter Smith, Luke Stone, Lisa Tomasetti, Viliami Topui, Lionel Tozer, Simon Williams, Joe Worthington

Casting Department

Jane Dawkins, Tim Littleton

Costume and Wardrobe Department

Mary Lou Da Roza, Amy Mitchell, Ruth Myers, Annabelle Punch, Kerry Thompson, Christina Validakis

Editorial Department

Tim Dyson, Carl Firth, Katie Flaxman, Adrian Hauser, Alison Ingram, John Lee, Gene Marsh, Teena Mestres, Lisa-Anne Morris, Robert Puru, Justin Ngy Tran, Mark Warner, Michelle Kaszai

Location Management

Masoumeh Mokhtar, Chris Reynolds

Music Department

Daniel Baker, Laura Bishop, Wes Chew, Coralie Hartl, Phillip Hartl, James K. Lee, Michael Lira, Angus O Sullivan, Norman Parkhill, The Studio Orchestra of Sydney, Jessica Wells

Script and Continuity Department

Matthew Dabner, Reezy Miller, Duncan Thompson, Greg Waters, Kristin Witcombe

Transportation Department

Mike Horvath, Mark McKinley, Billy Holden

Additional Crew

Geoff Anderson, Camilla Baker, Mackenzie Benstead, Elaine Boyd, James Bramley, Anni Browning, Adam Butler, Andrew Clarke, Sue Collins, Kylie Connell, Lexi de Toth, Claire Fincham, Tony Gibbs, Madeleine Gottlieb, Katie Harris, Paul Heagney, Jon Heaney, Robbie Henley, Adam Hughes, Cynthia Keyte, James Livingstone, Troy MacKinder, Damien Macy, Tracy Mann, Shane Matthews, Kate Meyer, Anna Marie Pitman, Clare Pollard, Greg Robinson, Stephen Rutter, Kieran Shevlin, Nathan Smith, Anna Steel, Sally Steele, Miriam Stein, Brian Stone, Sebastian Strakowicz, Reinaldo Tuki, Caroline Verge, Simon von Oorde, Danny Williams, Chris Wilson, Rebecca Wong, Enrique Zalapa, Ahmed Salama


Elizabeth McLean, Scott Meek, Anna Marie Pitman, John Sayles, Gus Van Sant, Matt Young


Comedy, Drama


Red Carpet Productions, Abacus Film Fund, Head Gear Films


Australia, UK







ImDb Rating Votes


Short Description

Accidents Happen is a 2009 Australian coming-of-age comedy drama film directed by Andrew Lancaster and starring Geena Davis, Harrison Gilbertson, Harry Cook, Sebastian Gregory, Joel Tobeck, and Sarah Woods. Written by Brian Carbee, based on his own childhood and adolescence, the story revolves around an accident-prone teenage boy and his family. The film was shot in Sydney, New South Wales, over June – July 2008, and opened in Australia on 22 April 2010.

At the ARIA Music Awards of 2010 the soundtrack was nominated for ARIA Award for Best Original Soundtrack, Cast or Show Album.

Box Office Budget

A$6,000,000 (estimated)

Box Office Cumulative Worldwide Gross



Close up of eyes,timeframe 1970s,family tragedy,tragedy,15 year old