Pieces of April
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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
- "All the Pieces Together" featurette
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Top customer reviews
April is the black sheep in the Burns family - the daughter that "went Goth", dyed her hair and moved to a dingy New York apartment with her drug dealer boyfriend. The bad boyfriend has been ditched, though, and Derek Luke is great as Bobby, April's new boyfriend. As the film opens we see that Bobby has urged April to reach out to her family, especially her mom, who is dying of breast cancer. Bobby and April have invited the rest of the Burns family to join them for Thanksgiving.
Patricia Clarkson gives a superlative performance as that mother, Joy Burns. Joy doesn't have that much time left, and she is resistant to losing even more precious time in a drive to and from April's apartment. She is certain, given past experiences with April, that the whole experience is going to be a disaster.
Alison Pill is next oldest daughter, Beth. She is even more resentful about the trip. While April has made a mess of her life and relationships, Beth has been the "good girl", and she also resents the fact that the family is giving time and attention to April and her dysfunctional life.
John Gallagher Jr. is youngest brother Timmy, a typical teenager whose main service to the plot is to provide marijuana to his mom who is fighting back the nausea of her cancer on the way to Thanksgiving dinner.
Oliver Platt plays Jim, the Dad that serves as the glue holding the disparate parts of the family together. April talks to her Dad more than the rest of the family, and Jim keeps trying to reassure everyone else in the family that this trip is going to be a good experience for everyone.
Back at April and Bobby's apartment things are not going well while the Burns' drive for several hours from New England. Bobby has an errand to run. Roger Ebert didn't like the way this subplot makes the audience think one thing while something entirely different was going on, but Hedges plays with our expectations and prejudices and I disagree with Mr. Ebert that this lessens the film. To say more would spoil.
While Bobby is out April, who we are told doesn't cook at all, is trying to put together a Thanksgiving feast. The turkey is stuffed before she discovers that the oven has chosen the worst possible time to stop working. Determined to make this meal work, April gathers up the turkey pan and trolls her tenement building trying to borrow even an hour of oven time. Along the way she meets her neighbors and some of the nicest moments of the film are these interactions. With April in her hour of need, not all of her neighbors are willing to help, but the ones who do are in the best spirit of Thanksgiving, which prompts April at one point to give a thumbnail version of the story of the Pilgrims and Indians to a Chinese family who graciously help her.
The movie is full of "real" moments, sometimes moments of heartbreak and sometimes moments of hope and love and resiliency. It is a movie for families and extended families. The Mrs. And I give it two thumbs up.
Most recent customer reviews
Pros: Katie Holmes is such eye-candy, Patricia Clarkson is so good it's hateable
Cons: Shaky camera, only good for one viewing.Read more
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