Macon Leary (William Hurt) has a bad back and a job writing travel books for businessmen. He, and they, truly hate travelling, and the futility of his guides, coupled with a general dissatisfaction with life, lead to his revaluation of domestic realities.
In the words of Leary's wife Sarah (Kathleen Turner), he writes for businessmen "so they can travel to the most wonderful exotic places in the world and never be touched by them."
Leary also travels through life without being touched by it. His child was shot dead in a hold-up, and while his wife tries valiantly to come to terms with it, Macon buries the tragedy. One stormy night she walks out, exasperated, and he is left alone with only his dog (the wonderful Welsh corgi Edward) and his bewilderment. Well and truly on a down-curve, he breaks his leg, returns to his eccentric family, refuses to answer the phone and is dragged reluctantly into a relationship with Edward's trainer Muriel Pritchett (Geena Davis, who won an Oscar as Best Supporting Actress for her wonderfully quirky performance).
Somehow, The Accidental Tourist manages to be both deeply sad and deeply funny. Hurt's performance is quite extraordinarybaffled by life's injustice, cynical and emotionally barren, he conveys his character on many occasions with merely a facial expression: he is mesmerising to watch. Macon's mad family, Edward the dog and Geena Davis' pushy, slightly bonkers Muriel Pritchett balance his melancholy, and the end result is a quiet, gentle and amusing film. Hardly a smile crosses Macon's heart-broken face until the very last shot, when his slowly unfolding grin, as he realises he's made one good decision at last, is a joy to behold. The sort of video you may well want to immediately rewind and sit through all over again.
Supremely confident and polished domestic drama whose subtle brilliance masquerades as accidental.