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Pieces of April (2003)

Katie Holmes , Oliver Platt , Peter Hedges  |  PG-13 |  DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (181 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Katie Holmes, Oliver Platt, Patricia Clarkson, Derek Luke, Alison Pill
  • Directors: Peter Hedges
  • Writers: Peter Hedges
  • Producers: Alexis Alexanian, Caroline Kaplan, Dianne Dreyer, Gary Winick, Holly Becker
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Dubbed: French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
  • DVD Release Date: February 24, 2004
  • Run Time: 80 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (181 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000VV4OK
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #30,471 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Pieces of April" on IMDb

Special Features

  • "All the Pieces Together" featurette

Editorial Reviews

Katie Holmes is "terrific" (People) as the quirky black sheep of her family in this delightful comedy-drama that "sparkles with acerbic wit, original characters and genuine heart" (Variety). Academy AwardÂ(r) nominee* Patricia Clarkson gives "a career-making performance" (Boxoffice), and "the entire cast is inspired" (Film Threat) in this "moving, hilarious comedy" (People). Rebellious daughter April Burns (Holmes) has offered to host an elaborate Thanksgiving dinner for her suburban clan in her grubby Lower East Side apartment. But her attempts to create an unforgettable feast go awry when she discovers that her oven doesn't work. Now, asher weary family makes its way to the city, April must rely on the kindness of strangers to pull off the perfect meal and the perfect memory. *2003: Supporting Actress, Pieces of April

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
55 of 61 people found the following review helpful
April (Katie Holmes) is a young woman estranged from her family and living with her boyfriend Bobby (Derek Luke) in a mildly run down apartment building on Manhattan's Lower East Side. Aprils' mother, Joy (Patricia Clarkson), is being treated for advanced cancer and may not live long, so April has invited her family for Thanksgiving dinner in hopes of favorably impressing her mother and improving their relationship while there is still time. The family -Joy, father Jim (Oliver Platt), brother Timmy (John Gallagher, Jr.), and sister Beth, (Alison Pill)- piles in their car for the long and stressful trip to the city, while April prepares the meal. But things get off to a bad start when her oven won't work.
"Pieces of April" was written and directed by Peter Hedges. It's a wonderful examination of family and an engaging portrait of these individuals who are so disparate in personality yet linked to one another by hope and tradition. And "Pieces of April" is an testament to the opportunities modern technologies provide to filmmakers with few resources. The film was shot in 16 days on digital video for $300,000. And, incredibly, the only glaring evidence of these limitations is the absence of wide-angle shots. Director Peter Hedges didn't use wide shots because they are problematic on DV. The result is that occasionally our field of view seems unnaturally truncated, but not enough to detract from the quality of the film.
I was a little surprised to learn that great thespians Patricia Clarkson and Oliver Platt and a young star like Katie Holmes would agree to such a low-budget production, but I imagine this fantastic script captured their interest.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not exactly Rockwell's vision March 20, 2004
You may have seen the famous Norman Rockwell painting, "Freedom from Want", which depicts the idealized American family gathered around the quintessential Thanksgiving table as the turkey is presented for carving. PIECES OF APRIL it's not.
April Burns (Katie Holmes) lives in a New York City apartment with her boyfriend Bobby (Derek Luke), and the film opens as the two begin to prepare Thanksgiving dinner for the rest of April's family, which is driving in from out of town for the ordeal.
Joy Burns (Patricia Clarkson) is dying of the metastatic cancer that has already cost her both her breasts, a surgical transformation suitably documented in the family photo album. She expects this Thanksgiving to be a disaster since daughter April was a more into drugs than Home Ec. Indeed, to say she and April are estranged is an understatement. But husband Jim (Oliver Platt) persuades her, so off they go in the station wagon with their other children, daughter Beth (Alison Pill) and son Timmy (John Gallagher), and Joy's senile mother Dottie (Alice Drummond) for what may well be Joy's last Thanksgiving.
In the meantime, as Bobby goes out on a mysterious errand, April is faced with a non-functional oven, which forces her to desperately beg the other tenants in the building for the necessary range time to cook the traditional bird. Time is running short, and the rest of the clan is getting closer despite frequent stops for Joy to vomit from the nausea induced by her chemotherapy. And it also appears that the family doesn't know that April lives in a decrepit tenement in a graffiti-decorated slum, nor that Bobby is Black. The Burns festive occasion promises to make your dysfunctional Turkey Day look like a Martha Stewart showcase event in comparison.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Moving, funny, sad, and intensely human October 24, 2003
About thirty minutes into this film, I must confess that I didn't think I was going to like it, but I ended up liking it a great deal. The first problem I had was the look of the film, with an exceptionally grainy cast to the images, made worse by a series of extreme close ups, and bleached out colors. The film never ended up looking good, but the it bothered me less as it went on. The second thing that bothered me was that the set up seemed a bit too stereotypical: black sheep of the family April living in squalor in another town (New York City) makes a Thanksgiving dinner for her disapproving family (loving but sometimes overwhelmed father, younger and negativistic sister, go-with-the-flow younger brother, grandmother suffering from Alzheimer's, and hypercritical, cold, and unloving mother, who is undergoing--probably futility--chemotherapy for breast cancer). Of course, everything starts going wrong and gets worse (April and her boyfriend obviously have no culinary skills, oven is broken and she has extreme difficulty finding anyone who can help her, her mother in the car bringing her family to NYC is constantly berating April and creating a poisoned atmosphere, etc.), and I felt the whole thing was a bit too predictable (which it in part remained).
But at some point about halfway through the film, I really started enjoying the film. Sure, it still looked bad, but I started enjoying getting to know the characters, I began to find the humor more and more biting, and I started to want her family to be pleasantly surprised at April's almost heroic efforts to create perhaps the last good day they would all have as a family.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars WOW
Well made indie flick!
Published 3 days ago by Hammer09
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
Terrible movie. Waste of time
Published 14 days ago by Liz Steinborn
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Very good movie
Published 21 days ago by EDUARD ARUTYUNYANTS
4.0 out of 5 stars A nice, "alternative" Thanksgiving movie
Very touching. And cute. Heart warming. A nice, "alternative" Thanksgiving movie.
Published 1 month ago by Kara Mcbride
5.0 out of 5 stars Katie Holmes Like You've Never Seen Her
The best thing Katie Holmes ever did was not marry Tom Cruise, it was make this movie.
I had no idea she could act like this. Great Great film.
Published 2 months ago by Missy Caress
5.0 out of 5 stars Pieces of April with Katie Holmes
I just happened to watch this movie (it's an older movie) on late TV one night and it was so sweet that I ordered it so that I could watch it again with my husband. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Jean Cottrell
3.0 out of 5 stars Really great story, mediocre directing
Just like the title, this story is a very well written piece, however, the directing style leaves a lot to be desired visually. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Katy Hannah
4.0 out of 5 stars Quirky but a good watch.
I had to watch this movie for a class assignment and was dreading it. But it turned out to be a much better watch than I thought. Read more
Published 6 months ago by KL
4.0 out of 5 stars Emotional realism
This film reflected many families in America with the dysfunction that abounds in our country. I could personally relate to this film as it reminded me of my mother and siblings. Read more
Published 7 months ago by John Dunn
4.0 out of 5 stars worth seeing again
I've seen this film 3 times, and it seems to get better with each viewing. Katie Holmes and Patricia Clarkson are terrific! Read more
Published 8 months ago by trlamb
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