Movie of the Day – Pieces of April
January 12, 2012 Leave a comment
A movie post today that probably is more relevant during the Thanksgiving season, considering the film centers on family and Thanksgiving, but the film could really be about any family dinner get-together. One of few Katie Holmes films that I enjoy as this kind of film is a lot more honest with the portrayal of a dysfunctional family. It’s a simple film, which is a great compliment and makes it a memorable movie for me. Well memorable enough to get it’s own post today.
Family outcast April Burns (Katie Holmes) lives in a beat-up apartment in New York’s Lower East Side with her boyfriend, Bobby (Derek Luke). In order to spend some time with her dying mother, Joy (Patricia Clarkson), April invites her conservative suburban family to her place for a Thanksgiving feast. She discovers that her oven is broken the morning of the big day, so she goes around her tenement building trying to find a sympathetic neighbor with a working oven. Though she doesn’t know them, neighbors Eugene (Isiah Whitlock) and Evette (Lillias White) offer the use of their oven, but only for an hour. While she frantically tries to complete the meal, the family drives in from Pennsylvania sharing less-than-pleasant opinions about April’s lifestyle. Dad Jim (Oliver Platt) tries to think positively, while daughter Beth (Alison Pill) flaunts her good-girl status and son Timmy (John Gallagher Jr.) captures it all on film. ~ Andrea LeVasseur, Rovi
Just going to throw this out there, but Katie Holmes looks pretty hot in this movie. It’s got to be the hair and edginess of her clothes that were probably bought from Hot Topic. Now that I have that out of the way, I can get into why I enjoy this film. It’s the simplistic storyline that lends a lot more focus on the acting and setting. The film itself has a lot of moving parts, presented in this little vignettes to the audience, but it never seems so cluttered or busy, just compacted. It’s a nice change of pace from the traditional holiday films that are all about the grand scale of the season. Pieces of April is just about one girls quest to create a perfect Thanksgiving for her estranged family.
The aim of the film is to draw it’s characters together, even uniting some that aren’t even a part of the traditional family structure. April gets to know her neighbors a bit more and find that she a family structure no matter where she is at. Each interaction is its own story, but it all comes together in the end. Holmes nails the role of April with the quiet, conflicted nature of her character and the charming, funny aspects of her life when she is able to enjoy her predicament. The other side of April’s life is filled with even better characters, mainly her father and mother who are played by Oliver Platt and Patricia Clarkson respectively. Platt is wonderful in the role, trying to coral the family make every thing perfect his ill wife, which Clarkson acts the most leveled headed of the family, maybe because of her short time that is left in her life.
This is really the way that holiday films should be presented. Not some forced comedic film where the absurd happens more often then not, but a downplayed comedy where natural interactions give way to a more natural comedy. It’s not forced or contrived, the comedy and emotional points, but the film is highlighted with some poignant moments for each major player and they shine brightly. The tears and laughs just come out naturally and makes this a rather unique film for the traditional holiday flick.