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Pieces of April

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PG-13
2003

Pieces of April is a movie that was released in 2003. This American comedy-drama film is written and directed by Peter Hedges, featuring Katie Holmes, Oliver Platt, and Patricia Clarkson. It illustrates the life of April Burns and the struggles she faces trying to prepare a Thanksgiving feast for her dysfunctional family. This captivating film takes viewers through a set of amusing yet profound sequences of everyday life.

Katie Holmes plays the eponymous April – a young woman who lives in a run-down, cluttered Lower East Side apartment in New York City. April is the black sheep of her family. She is a young adult trying to find her own way in the world away from her suburban family—an estranged folk trying to prove herself to her kin.

The plot of the movie kicks off with April inviting her family over to her apartment for Thanksgiving dinner. She attempts to play the role of the doting daughter, sibling, and hostess by making a turkey dinner herself. However, drama ensues when she realizes that her oven isn’t working just a few hours before her family is expected to arrive. The storyline follows April on her quest to find a way to cook turkey, tangled with varied encounters with her eccentric neighbors.

On the other side of the story, April's family is on their way to her apartment, but not with a cheerful spirit. Patricia Clarkson delivers a powerful performance as Joy Burns, the terminally ill, sarcastic mother who has a strained relationship with April. Oliver Platt plays the father, Jim Burns, bent on keeping peace and optimism amidst the family's brewing issues. As the family makes their way to the city, the reality of their situation, and the reasoning behind their distinctive dynamics gradually come to light.

The film expertly juggles two parallel narratives. It flips between the incident-prone April, as she negotiates with her unusual multicultural city-dwelling neighbors to secure an oven, and her suburban family making the journey to join her, in a beaten-up station wagon filled with cynicism and sarcasm toward April.

The story's strength lies in its rawness and honesty. While it is a comedy, it does not shy away from imbuing dark themes. It tackles complex family dynamics, estrangement, and terminal illness all with a undertone of redemption. Its humor is organic, often springing from realistic scenarios and perfectly timed dialogue, serving to lighten the mood without taking away from the gravity of the family's situation.

Hedges' direction and sea-tone shell colors are brilliantly complemented by the performance of the ensemble cast. On top of this, the narrative's pace is effectively balanced, successfully showing April's struggle in the block next door, and her family's journey into the city without letting the story drag.

The character development in the film is notable, especially that of April. Holmes’ stunning performance captures the essence of a hardened city girl with a hidden vulnerability, searching for acceptance from her family. Simultaneously, the supporting characters are rich in their various eccentricities, offering both comic relief, and adding color and nuance to the central narrative.

On a broader note, Pieces of April is an untraditional exploration of Thanksgiving and its meaning. It underscores the importance of love, family, and acceptance while grappling with human nature and life's imperfections. This is not a typical feel-good movie; instead, it's a realistic, poignant, and often hilarious portrayal of family and human relationships.

In summary, Pieces of April is a rewarding watch that combines comedy and drama in a balanced, vibrant exploration of a Thanksgiving feast. It is filled with perfectly timed humor, raw emotion, and captivating characters, resulting in a memorable and meaningful viewing experience.

Pieces of April is a Comedy, Drama movie released in 2003. It has a runtime of 80 minutes. Critics and viewers have rated it moderate reviews, with an IMDb score of 7.0. It also holds a MetaScore of 70.

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Where can I stream Pieces of April movie online? Pieces of April is available to watch and stream, buy on demand, download at Amazon Prime, Apple TV Channels, The Roku Channel Free, Pluto TV, Tubi TV, Kanopy, Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent Pieces of April for a limited time or purchase the movie for downloading.

7.0/10
70/100
Director
Peter Hedges
Stars
Katie Holmes, Derek Luke, Sean Hayes, Alison Pill, Oliver Platt, Patricia Clarkson
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