Back in 2003, Katie Holmes was still linked a lot to Dawson's Creek, which she plays Joey, a struggling smart girl who ends up in love with her childhood friend. Back then I thought Katie Holmes can only play related kind of character of Joey. Maybe if I saw this movie in 2003, I would say 'Eh, she's still Joey.' Now, it doesn't matter. I just think the movie has a lot of values.
April Burns, the eldest daughter in a highly dysfunctional family, lives in a small tenement apartment on the Lower East Side of Manhattan with her boyfriend Bobby. Although estranged from her family, she opts to invite them for Thanksgiving dinner, probably the last for her mother Joy, who has breast cancer. The film focuses on three journeys: the family's arduous trek from suburbia to New York City, one punctuated by stops for Krispy Kreme doughnuts, bagels, Joy's frequent need for a restroom or a joint to ease her pain, a burial service for an animal they hit, and various arguments and recriminations; Bobby's efforts to find a suit so he can make a good impression on his girlfriend's relatives; and April's preparations for the meal, a near disaster when she discovers her oven is broken. With the help of various neighbors, she manages to assemble dinner, while learning to appreciate the importance of family and making some new friends in the process. (wikipedia)
In his commentary on the film's DVD release, Hedges says the inspiration for his screenplay was twofold — his mother's battle with and death from cancer, and a true story about a group of friends whose plans to prepare a communal Thanksgiving dinner were thwarted by a broken stove. (wikipedia)
This low budget movie have a deep message behind. In the end, I don't even care about the low quality camera. It has smart way of telling audience with just little things without the help of narration. For example, April's crankiness in the morning when she knows her family wants to come over for Thanksgiving, with her laziness to get up and his boyfriend took her to the shower while she screams. There's no music behind to support a moment, there's no special effects. So it feels real and honest. You could just read the situation.
It is heartbreaking to see the mother's emotional feelings between the trip. First she's still keeping anger for April, but torn because she feels she failed to raise her daughter and being a mother. It tells a lot about mother-daughter torn relationship. April's problems with her family is in general happens in almost every family. There's always a rebel one in one of the kids. There is a lot of ego inside and unresolved anger. Even though she have those anger feelings, April still struggling all day to make a Thanksgiving food for them. Somehow, her effort cause her to know her neighbors (which I love). It seems good purpose makes a good cause. So you didn't getting along with your family. In the end it's nice to have a family to spend with in holiday.
Good family movie. The family's situation remind me a lot to my own family ^^ Watch this and have a lovely moment with your own family :)