The Accidental Hero is a poignant—if slightly depressing—French language film that benefits from a short running time.
Tom, a young teen, can't seem to find any happiness in his life. He is constantly at the throat of his mother, a flight attendant who is rarely around. Tom believes she drove away the father he never met, and resents her for it. When the two are in a horrible car accident, Tom is okay, but his mother wakes up with no recollection of who she is—or who her son is. Tom is placed in a group home, under the guardianship of a tough disciplinarian Tom sees sort of as a father figure. It is up to Tom alone to get his life—and his mother's—back on track.
This is one of those films that gives you a glimpse into a world of misfortune, and rather than taking the easy route and cutting the characters some slack, keeps piling on the heartache. Even so, with all the sadness Tom experiences, you find yourself rooting for him to keep fighting to make a better world for himself. Although I don't speak the language, it seems to be well-acted, and while it may be too heavy-handed for some, it's a touching film. The characters are well-drawn and you really get a sense of what each of them is thinking and feeling. It's a modestly powerful film. And being only an hour and a half, it doesn't drag on or leave you emotionally spent. It's just the right length to tell a story and touch your heart strings.
Aspect ratio: 1:85:1, anamorphic—While edge enhancement does indeed "enhance" the edges a bit, the image is still rather soft and a tad grainy. Colors are washed out, and skin tones are quite yellow. There are just sporadic hints of dust and dirt on the print.
2.0 stereo or 5.1 surround—in 5.1 surround, there is distinct separation through all speakers. The dialogue is well centered and clear. Bass response is just enough to make its point without any annoying distortion.
English subtitles are optional. The subtitles are yellow, and are incredibly difficult to read during a few scenes that have light-colored backdrops. Scene selection offers 19 chapter breaks. Coming attractions include previews for: 15, The Great Water, The Holy Child, Life After All, You'll Get Over it.
The Accidental Hero must be approached with a realization that it's going to be a bit of a downer. But even though it goes into some dark territory, it does indeed have you cheering its hero on until the end.