The Film "The Accidental Tourist" was pretty terrible, but the novel wasn't much better.

Essay by TodMeg October 2003

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The Accidental Tourist

From its long-winded beginning to its dull and distorted end, The Accidental Tourist is an authentic recreation of Anne Tyler's novel. The only thing that scriptwriters Frank Galati and Lawrence Kasdan have offered the story is the out-of-fashion appearance of an era that was far from appealing. Though a few scenes have been removed entirely from the script, some of which seemed significant in the original text, most of the emotions contained in the novel have been successfully transferred to the screen. Though, that is not to say that there was much in the way of realistic emotion portrayed in the novel in the first place.

One of the truly wonderful aspects of reading any piece of literature is the mind's ability to transform the words into images. While reading a novel, such as The Accidental Tourist, one sets the scene within one's own imagination, and the characters develop their own identity and appearance.

For a script to be a satisfactory representation of a novel, it must follow the same written imagery as the novel, and doing otherwise has been known to leave some viewers most disgruntled at the overall visual effect. In the best situations, the novel and any subsequent movie appear ageless. They remain relevant and even fashionable for decades, some even centuries. The Accidental Tourist may have been well scripted from the novel, but the environments and scenes are decidedly stuck in a particular era. Aesthetically, this does not assist the film, as the year 1989 is not renowned for its charming fashions. The "presentation versus fashion" issue means many things for the viewer, for example the characters may appear dressed in clothing that, from the imagined images gained from the novel, seem completely inappropriate. On screen, The Accidental Tourist presents characters once...