Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5.
USA, 2003. United Artists, IFC Productions, InDigEnt, Kalkaska Productions, Well Done Productions. Screenplay by Peter Hedges. Cinematography by Tami Reiker. Produced by Alexis Alexanian, John S. Lyons, Gary Winick. Music by Stephin Merritt. Production Design by Rick Butler. Costume Design by Laura Bauer. Film Editing by Mark Livolsi. Academy Awards 2003. Boston Film Critics Awards 2003. Golden Globe Awards 2003. Independent Spirit Awards 2003. National Board of Review Awards 2003. Phoenix Film Critics Awards 2003. Toronto International Film Festival 2003.
Katie Holmes plays a young woman whose difficult relationship with her family is put to the test on the day she is expecting them for Thanksgiving dinner and can’t cook her turkey due to a faulty stove. She wanders around her New York City apartment building hoping that a neighbour might take pity on her and help her out, all the while her parents (Oliver Platt, Patricia Clarkson), siblings and grandmother are in their car heading in from out of town in expectation of a disastrous reunion. The dinner is an important one because mother Clarkson is dying of cancer and it might be their last chance to all be together. This digitally shot, “little” film has engaging characters and an enjoyable plot, moving along at a healthy pace thanks to excellent dialogue and delightful performances. The ending feels a bit rushed, though, and the film needn’t have been in such a hurry to get itself over with. Clarkson is a standout, her scenes in the car with Platt being the best ones, while Sean Hayes (of TV’s Will And Grace) strikes a sour note in an overdone and unbelievable performance as Holmes’s obsessive neighbour.