USA, Peter Hedges, 2003
Low budget Indie favorite about a no-good-nick daughter who makes the supreme effort of hosting her estranged family to Thanksgiving dinner. She’s a misunderstood rebel (you can tell this from her funky pigtails, black leather jewelery and polka-dot blotched tank top) but she’s determined to host what will undoubtedly be mom’s final Thanksgiving with the family. Patricia Clarkson drew well-earned raves for her performance as the cancer-stricken matriarch who suffers her family not so gladly on the car ride into the city to see a daughter she’s never understood.
The plot kicks off when the oven does the same, and April (Katie Holmes) is forced to rely on the kindness of strangers, in this case her neighbors, to cook the turkey. Of course, she gains an extended family as the film moves toward its inevitable and somewhat too-tidy ending. I really wanted to like Pieces of April, and I did at times. But it was just trying too hard, and missed the mark too many times for me to really embrace the characters or the feeling. [***]