Pieces of April

Release Date: October 17, 2003
Limited release

Katie getting tired of Chris Klein's insistence on 'spicing things up' with Kinky Hulk games.

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From the director of About a Boy comes this tale of a barely-functional family gathering for Thanksgiving dinner at the dilapidated New York tenement of black-sheep daughter April. Desperate to please her highly-critical mother and reconnect with her family, April copes with a series of Three Stooges-level catastrophes in trying to prepare dinner as she remembers from her childhood, culminating in the borrowing of one of her neighbor’s ovens in order to cook the turkey. Meanwhile, the none-too-happy family is driving in from the suburbs, with the father trying to sustain a positive, joyous holiday attitude in the face of his increasingly-morose wife and April’s two younger siblings, neither of whom enjoy their mother’s approval and who convey the same feeling toward the eldest child. As the two disparate groups converge for what can only be one of the most disastrous Thanksgiving dinners on record, it is revealed that the mother is dying of cancer, the daughter has an African-American boyfriend, and the neighbor whose oven is being used for the turkey is pretty close to certifiable.

This all sounds like the stuff of a sit-com, or perhaps one of those Movie-of-the-Week films so popular in the ‘70s where everyone cries and cares and shares and grows in two hours’ time, less commercials. But the overwhelmingly positive reviews all agree that writer/director Hedges handles the borderline-soap material with a finesse that allows the audience to see themselves and their families in the large and small travails of April and her clan. The performances, too, are universally praised, with Patricia Clarkson receiving greatest recognition as the always-controlled wife and mother who is forced by circumstance to reveal her innermost fears and pain.

And for you ladies who’d like to get your beaus to see a chick-flick once, in a while, I have two words that will make most straight men in America anxious to see this film:

Katie Holmes.

In short, Pieces of April has all the hallmarks of a breakout film, much like last year’s phenom My Big, Fat Greek Wedding. As critical praise grows and word-of-mouth gets round, expect MGM/UA to start beating the drum for the film, and expect that rhythm to reach a fever pitch when year-end awards season starts. And do look for Pieces of April at your local art-house establishment; sounds like it’s an entertainment not to be missed. (Stephanie Star Smith/BOP)

Vital statistics for Pieces of April
Main Cast Katie Holmes, Patricia Clarkson, Oliver Platt, John Gallagher Jr.
Supporting Cast Derek Luke, Alison Pill, Alice Drummond, Sean Hayes, Sisqo, Lillias White, Isiah Whitlock Jr.
Director Peter Hedges
Screenwriter Peter Hedges
Distributor MGM
Trailer Click Here for Trailer
Official Site http://www.piecesofaprilmovie.com/
Rating PG-13
Running Time 81 minutes
Screen Count 6
  • Patricia Clarkson, Special Jury Prize Dramatic for outstanding performance, 2003 Sundance Film Festival

Awards page for Pieces of April
Talent in red has entry in The Big Picture

Comparison films for Pieces of April
Adjusted Opening
Total BO
Adjusted Total
About a Boy 5/17/028.56 8.89 1207 7090.00 7090.0 40.57 42.18 4.74
Home for the Holidays 11/3/954.01 5.55 1000 4010.00 5346.7 17.47 24.21 4.36
I'll Be Home For Christmas 11/13/983.90 5.01 1759 2217.00 2741.7 12.20 15.68 3.13



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