Starring: Gui Lunmei, Chen Kun, Wang Jingchun
Director: He Weiting
Running Time: 105 mins
Beautiful Accident is a Chinese film about a young woman who, at the height of her career as a lawyer, is killed in a car accident. However, upon discovering that her death was the mistake of a higher authority, she is put back to Earth in the life of a housewife, in which she learns the values of family and love.
While it’s hardly the world’s most hilarious or moving film, Beautiful Accident is a thoroughly enjoyable watch. With a fun – if not often a little confusing – premise about what happens after we die, the film grabs your attention well with a striking opening act, and pushes ahead with a generally fun-loving and still warm-hearted story through to the end. It may not always hit the right beats when it comes to delivering its core message, but the fact remains that Beautiful Accident has the humour and the imagination to prove a genuinely entertaining watch regardless.
Let’s start off with the film’s opening act, which is arguably the boldest and most surprising part of the whole movie. Beginning in rather cold fashion as we see the life of this career-driven young lawyer, the film bursts into life with the car crash that sets events in motion. From then, there’s an instant and dramatic change of atmosphere from heavy drama to ridiculous fantasy comedy, yet it’s a transition that’s handled really well.
Coming from such a cold-hearted opening ten minutes or so, the sudden jump into a realm of fantasy (effectively set in the waiting room at purgatory) really grabs your attention with its boldness. The rest of the film may not follow through with such a level of fantastical comedy, but it gets the movie off to a great start, and proves that an abrupt shift from drama to comedy needn’t be frought with difficulty and awkwardness as is often the case.
From then on, the film is a lot more light-hearted, following the woman as she attempts to navigate her way through the life of another woman, looking after her children and coping with all of her housework. In that, there’s some fun comedy, and a few unexpected twists and turns throughout also give a pleasantly ridiculous vibe to proceedings.
So, Beautiful Accident turns out to be a really rather entertaining film, with a light-hearted atmosphere and good humour throughout. On top of that, it also tries to bring a more moving, emotional element to its story, but it’s at that point that things start to fall apart a little.
While the core intention of the film is perfectly pleasant and heartwarming, as a previously cold-hearted and simply career-driver woman learns the values of family and love, its delivery is both confusing and overly drawn-out over the course of the whole movie.
It’s a clear central message in both the film’s opening and closing scenes, but for too long was I watching the film expecting it to take a different direction, with a majority of the screenplay seemingly pointing towards some sort of epiphany about appreciating what you already have, and how different people can be happy no matter what their situation.
With a story development that suggests that sort of core theme, it’s a little jarring when the film pulls you back to show its rather more simplistic – but still pleasant – core emotional message, and that really takes away from some of the intrigue and emotional connection that you’ve built up over the course of the film so far.
Overall, though, I was really surprised by Beautiful Accident. It’s not an exceptional film, and its muddled emotional core is a point of frustration, but with a striking and impressive opening act, as well as good humour and a light-hearted atmosphere throughout, it’s a pleasant watch, and that’s why I’m giving it a 7.5.