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Pieces of April 2003 PG-13 CC

(209) IMDb 7.1/10
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A wayward daughter invites her dying mother and the rest of her estranged family to her apartment for Thanksgiving dinner.

Katie Holmes, Derek Luke
1 hour, 20 minutes

Available to watch on supported devices.

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Product Details

Genres Drama, Comedy
Director Peter Hedges
Starring Katie Holmes, Derek Luke
Supporting actors Oliver Platt, Alison Pill, John Gallagher Jr., Patricia Clarkson, Alice Drummond, Vitali Baganov, Lillias White, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Adrian Martinez, Susan Bruce, Jamari Richardson, Leila Danette, Stephen Chen, Sally Leung Bayer, Sean Hayes, Sisqó, Marcus Lovett, Jack Chen
Studio MGM
MPAA rating PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Rental rights 24 hour viewing period. Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

59 of 66 people found the following review helpful By mirasreviews HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 2, 2004
Format: DVD
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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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Robert Moore HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 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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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Joe TOP 1000 REVIEWER on March 20, 2004
Format: DVD
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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