What’s the biggest difference between real Thanksgiving celebrations and those in the movies? Both have cranky relatives, substance abuse, extramarital affairs, transportation woes, cooking disasters, lack of space, and a multitude of other problems. The difference is that in the movies, all this is funny.
Most winter holiday films concern Christmas and New Year’s Eve, but these five comedies celebrate the best and worst of Turkey Day in America.
The Importance of Food and Family at Thanksgiving
Pieces of April (2003)
April, the family black-sheep, invites her dysfunctional family over for Thanksgiving dinner even though her stove is broken and her apartment is tiny.
Starring Katie Holmes, Derek Luke, Oliver Platt, Patricia Clarkson
Director: Peter Hedges
Additional Information: Clarkson was nominated for and the winner of numerous awards for her role as April’s critically ill mother who comes to visit for the holiday.
Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)
Three adult sisters, their romantic counterparts, and piles of emotional baggage show up for two consecutive Thanksgiving dinners in this bittersweet romantic comedy about Woody Allen’s usual subjects of life, love, sex, and death.
Starring Mia Farrow, Barbara Hershey, Dianne Wiest, Michael Caine
Director: Woody Allen
Additional Information: Hannah and Her Sisters won many awards, including Academy Awards for Best Original Screenplay (Allen), Best Supporting Actor (Caine), and Best Supporting Actress (Wiest).
The Importance of Food and Friends at Thanksgiving
What’s Cooking? (2000)
Four ethnically diverse households in Los Angeles celebrate Thanksgiving together, each handling a different crisis.
Starring Mercedes Ruehl, Lainie Kazan, Kyra Sedgwick, Alfre Woodard
Director: Gurinder Chadha
Additional Information: Chadha won British Director of the Year in 2002 from the London Critics Circle Film Awards.
Scent of a Woman (1992)
A dark comedy in which a blind retired military officer is home alone during Thanksgiving with only a hired student to keep him company during his escapades.
Starring Al Pacino, Chris O’Donnell, Gabrielle Anwar, Philip Seymour Hoffman
Director: Martin Brest
Additional Information: This film is a remake of the 1975 Italian film Profumo di Donna.