Pieces of April2003

Director: Peter Hedges
Stars: Katie Holmes, Oliver Platt, Patricia Clarkson, Derek Luke, Alison Pill
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Rating: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Runtime: 80 minutes

The plot of Pieces of April, a sweet independent film, couldn't be simpler: As a raffish young woman named April (chipmunk-cute Katie Holmes, Wonder Boys, Dawson's Creek) struggles to cook Thanksgiving dinner in her dingy, cramped New York apartment, her estranged family slowly drives toward the city, stopping now and then to question why they're going to a meal they expect to be not only bad to eat, but awkward and unhappy. The writing, acting, and directing of Pieces of April ranges from straightforward to clumsy--and yet the movie builds to a surprisingly potent emotional conclusion. Much of the credit goes to wily Patricia Clarkson (High Art, The Station Agent), who plays April's cancer-ridden mother with a compelling mixture of sadness, rebellion, and wistful hope. Also featuring Oliver Platt (Funny Bones), Sean Hayes (Billy's Hollywood Screen Kiss), and Derek Luke (Antwone Fisher). --Bret Fetzer

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