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Pieces of April

 (147)
7.01 h 19 min2003X-Ray12
A wayward daughter invites her dying mother and the rest of her estranged family to her apartment for Thanksgiving dinner.
Directors
Peter Hedges
Starring
Katie HolmesDerek LukeOliver Platt
Genres
ComedyDramaArthouse
Subtitles
English [CC]
Audio Languages
English
Rentals include 30 days to start watching this video and 48 hours to finish once started.
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Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

147 global ratings

  1. 69% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 17% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 9% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 3% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 3% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United Kingdom

John BehmReviewed in the United Kingdom on 19 December 2020
3.0 out of 5 stars
One for the Thanksgiving masochists.
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This film is full of actors acting their socks off, and as a movie-watching experience it all just made me cringe with the largely humorless tension of the whole event. Oliver Platt delivered the only antidote to all the angst, as the one character whose approach and responses were generous, and not calculated to be, as designed by the script and direction, intentionally ‘awkwardly difficult‘. Such a lot of cookie-cutter stereotypes, otherwise.
Patricia Clarkson‘s character, also, is not a stereotype, and Clarkson delivers an affecting portrayal of a woman driven to the edge of her capacity to function by her health crisis - but would her family only become aware of this shift in her behaviour toward the bizarre, suddenly, on Thanksgiving Day?
And as we approach the climax of all this preparation and effort, as the family and guests congregate in the tiny dining room for the acknowledged purpose of this our shared journey - the enjoyment of the Thanksgiving meal and it’s attendant fellowship - the motion-picture narrative is replaced by a series of still ‘snapshots’ of the guests eating the meal, attended by the unfocused burble and hubbub of any dining hall, leaving it to the individual to interpret that culminating moment according to their own experiences and opinions of family Thanksgivings - which might be a clever option on the part of the writer and director - or might simply be final proof of their inability to coherently resolve this struggling, fitful narrative.
If you enjoy you family Thanksgiving gatherings, the story told in this film may only bemuse you.
If your family Thanksgivings only aggravate your anxieties, you might not need to watch this example play out.
Amazon CustomerReviewed in the United Kingdom on 11 September 2017
2.0 out of 5 stars
Starts off looking like an indie movie (shakes camera) but in its second ...
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Starts off looking like an indie movie (shakes camera) but in its second half it becomes an extremely broad comedy I almost was expecting there to be a scene where a rich aristocrat spat out brandy. The ending is meant to be moving but I just wanted to throw up with the sickly sweetness on screen and its "we're all the same" message.
One person found this helpful
Amazon CustomerReviewed in the United Kingdom on 02 July 2018
5.0 out of 5 stars
If you liked Go you'll like this
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Best indie/ functional family film- great cast, Katie Holmes best performance. If you liked Go, you'll like this
One person found this helpful
Peter S MarstonReviewed in the United Kingdom on 06 May 2011
5.0 out of 5 stars
Great film with brilliant soundtrack
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This film has some excellent characters and you really feel for the lead played by Katie Holmes and also her boyfriend.

Superb soundtrack as well
Amy Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 02 June 2015
5.0 out of 5 stars
Five Stars
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Good
J. E. BamberReviewed in the United Kingdom on 06 August 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars
Brilliant
Pieces of April is not a high budget action film there arn't explosions every 5 minutes, but it is a heartbreaking and beautiful piece of film making, the emotion isn't right in your face, it's suttle but still there. Peter Hedges ( The writer and director ) makes a well moulded movie, he really makes every word count and with the short running time 80 minutes, he puts more things across than most feature films. Peter draws excellent performances out of the excellent cast. Mainly Patricia Clarkson ( who recieved an oscar nomination for this role ) and Katie Holmes both put in brilliant performances Katie Holmes plays April, the black sheep of the Burns family, and Patricia Clarckson plays april mother, who is soffering from cancer. The scenes are always contain raw emotion of some sort, but it is also a very funny film, with well planned jokes that almost seem unintentional. Pieces of April was filmed with less than 25000 dollars which is very little, the actors had to bring there own lunch because the movie couldn't afford to provide a cafetiria, and it is still such a brilliant film, about what could be real people in a real situation, one womans struggle with illness and anothers with cooking dinner. The end is i'll admit a little dissapointing, but still even that will melt even the most sinical of people's hearts. All in all Pieces Of April is an excellent piece of film making, with another real emotion, excellent acting, brilliant writing and riviting direction to make 250 other movies.
Aheart warming and breaking Film, Buy
8 people found this helpful
Oli CReviewed in the United Kingdom on 24 May 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars
Simply Beautiful
'Pieces if April' is the story of a young girl (April) who tries to stage a thanksgiving dinner for a family she doesn't aet along with anymore; in an attempt to make piece during what may be April's mother's last thanksgiving. However, things start to go wrong when her oven doesn't work, and the situation doesn't get any better as April must rely on the charity of her neighbours to prepare the feast she has planned...
I bought this film on a whim after seeing a review of it on the television and was absolutely blown away by it; everything, from the plot to the performances, is absolutely perfect.
Told, for the most part, as two seperate stories; one of April desperately trying to prepare the thanksgiving dinner, the other, her family attempting to get to get to the dinner. The film is often incredibly funny then subsequently heart-wrenchingly moving; as soon as the credits roll you will be wanting to call everyone close to you and tell them how much you love them. The cast are also superb; Holmes makes a welcome change in character post-Dawsons creek as the rebellious April, and Patricia Clarkson is fantastic as the terminally-ill Joy Burns, Aprils mother, her character's dry wit (and Clarkson's ability to pull this humour off) will have you both laughing and crying at the same time.
Put simply this film is superb, buy it Now!!!
13 people found this helpful
Mr. JoeReviewed in the United Kingdom on 26 May 2004
4.0 out of 5 stars
Not exactly Rockwell's vision
You may have seen the famous Norman Rockwell painting, "Freedom from Want", which depicts the idealized American family gathered around the quintessential Thanksgiving table as the turkey is presented for carving. PIECES OF APRIL it's not.
April Burns (Katie Holmes) lives in a New York City apartment with her boyfriend Bobby (Derek Luke), and the film opens as the two begin to prepare Thanksgiving dinner for the rest of April's family, which is driving in from out of town for the ordeal.
Joy Burns (Patricia Clarkson) is dying of the metastatic cancer that has already cost her both her breasts, a surgical transformation suitably documented in the family photo album. She expects this Thanksgiving to be a disaster since daughter April was a more into drugs than Home Ec. Indeed, to say she and April are estranged is an understatement. But husband Jim (Oliver Platt) persuades her, so off they go in the station wagon with their other children, daughter Beth (Alison Pill) and son Timmy (John Gallagher), and Joy's senile mother Dottie (Alice Drummond) for what may well be Joy's last Thanksgiving.
In the meantime, as Bobby goes out on a mysterious errand, April is faced with a non-functional oven, which forces her to desperately beg the other tenants in the building for the necessary range time to cook the traditional bird. Time is running short, and the rest of the clan is getting closer despite frequent stops for Joy to vomit from the nausea induced by her chemotherapy. And it also appears that the family doesn't know that April lives in a decrepit tenement in a graffiti-decorated slum, nor that Bobby is Black. The Burns festive occasion promises to make your dysfunctional Turkey Day look like a Martha Stewart showcase event in comparison.
Clarkson was deservedly nominated for, but didn't receive, an Oscar for this performance in a supporting role. She's more the "star" of PIECES OF APRIL than the ostensible lead, Holmes. The Bobby, Beth and Timmy characters are almost an unnecessary distraction. More interesting are April's neighbors which give her help, or not, especially the very strange Wayne (Sean Hayes) and the middle-age Afro-American couple, Evette (Lillias White) and Eugene (Isiah Whitlock). There's an especially good scene involving Evette's initial reaction to April when the latter first appears seeking help for her culinary crisis.
The movie's abrupt conclusion after eighty-one minutes leaves much to be desired. One wonders if the scriptwriter ran out of ideas or the producers out of money. But there's still enough there to make the film more than worth the cost of the rental. And, next Thanksgiving with the relatives, perhaps you won't take those mashed potatoes for granted.
6 people found this helpful
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