Pieces of April
***.2 GM
Starring: Katie Holmes, Patricia Clarkson, Oliver Platt, Derek Luke, Allison Pill, Sean Hayes, John Gallagher Jr.


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SUNDANCE REVIEW (which means I'm doing a lot of reviews in a hurry, so they might be shorter and less fantastical):

Keepin' it real with the TOL and Katie Holmes.

This film received some good response from the crowds at Sundance, and lots of women reported that they 'could not stop crying.' It's a nice little dysfunctional family picture about the black sheep of the family, vagabond troubled daughter April (Holmes), struggling to put together a decent Thanksgiving meal for her estranged relatives in an effort to mend a bridge or two before her cranky, critical mother (Clarkson) dies of breast cancer. The fact that it's based loosely on director Peter Hedges' (Gilbert Grape) own experiences made it a tad more touching, too.

I resisted it for a while, though. About halfway through it, I was starting to squint at it like it wasn't gonna get me. Something felt off, a bit contrived or manipulative, but the film took my skepticism as a challenge and nailed me by the end, getting me a little misty-eyed at the simple honesty and bittersweetness of the story as a whole.

Holmes does a good job, for the most part, as the wayward kid in New York who can't relate to any of her family anymore, although there's a sweetness that she never loses enough to be completely believable. Clarkson is fantastic as the snarky bitch dealing with her own vulnerability, making it apparent that this is something she's never wanted to show to anyone and is pissed off that she has to now. Platt is "the bomb, A #1" as the frustrated father, the only person in the family who actually gives a shit about April and the guy forced to bridge the gap between them more often than he can stand. Allison Pill makes a perfect snotty little sister and Sean Hayes has a good time playing a weird-ass neighbor, although it's the kind of completely out-of-whack character that disrupts the feel of the film and makes it seem like I'm watching a screenplay instead of a story. It was funny, though, anyway.

It's cute, I think you'll like it.

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