The Accidental Tourist


D: Lawrence Kasdan

Warner Bros (Lawrence Kasdan, Michael Okun & Michael Grillo)

US 🇺🇸 1988

121 mins


W: Lawrence Kasdan & Frank Galati [based on the novel by Anne Tyler]

DP: John Bailey

Ed: Carol Littleton

Mus: John Williams

William Hurt (Macon Leary), Kathleen Turner (Sarah Leary), Geena Davis (Muriel Pritchett), Bill Pullman (Julian Edge), Amy Wright (Rose Leary), David Ogden Stiers (Porter Leary)

In this adaptation of Anne Tyler’s novel, William Hurt stars as Macon Leary, a travel guide writer who has separated from his wife, Sarah, as they both try to deal with the tragic death of their son.  In-between trips abroad, Macon meets a kind-hearted veterinarian, Muriel Pritchett, whom he develops a romance with, but his wife unexpectedly returns to give their marriage another chance.

For me, the story is more interesting than the film itself, and I’m sure this would make an excellent read as a novel, especially when it comes to the quirks of some of the supporting characters in Macon’s family, who don’t really get enough screen time here as the main focus is on William Hurt, Kathleen Turner & a scene-stealing Geena Davis.

Fine acting aside, I just didn’t really find the romance believable between Macon & Muriel.  Muriel is a wonderfully good-natured character and the portrayal from Geena Davis is the best performance in the entire movie. It just doesn’t make sense why she falls for a guy who is only really in it for himself, practically stalking him in the final act. 

Nevertheless, it’s a film I enjoyed, but not totally worthy of the Best Picture Oscar nomination it received as one of 1988’s best.


Geena Davis & William Hurt in The Accidental Tourist
Geena Davis & William Hurt in The Accidental Tourist
Did You Know:
While filming The Fly, Geena Davis was reading the novel on which this film was based. In fact, she would read it to Jeff Goldblum while he went through the hours-long process of having prosthetic make-up applied. Jeff Goldblum also appeared in Lawrence Kasdan's earlier films, The Big Chill and Silverado.

Award Wins & Nominations:


Wins: none

Nominations: 3 (Best Actress in a Supporting Role, Best Screenplay - Adaptation; Best Original Dramatic Score)


Wins: 1 (Best Actress in a Supporting Role)

Nominations: 3 (Best Picture, Best Screenplay Adaptation; Best Original Score)


Wins: none

Nominations: 1 (Best Screenplay - Adapted)


Golden Horse (Best Foreign Actor); New York Film Critics (Best Film)