: Pieces of April
I sort of wanted to see this but it sounded a little boring so I skipped it in the theatres. Big mistake. It’s wonderful. It’s not boring at all. The story’s simple and the director intelligently keeps the film short (less than 90 minutes). I wish more directors would do that. Many, many of today’s films would be better at 60 minutes than they are at 120. But back to the movie. I had heard this was about a girl preparing her first Thanksgiving dinner. Well, that didn’t sound too exciting. But what was missing from that description is very important. First, the girl is estranged from her family: she hasn’t seen them in years, and they disapprove of her lifestyle and choices. Second, the girl’s mother is dying of cancer and this will probably be their last Thanksgiving and last chance for any kind of reconcilation. Ah, now the story has impact and importance! Why wasn’t that info in the previews and descriptions? Who knows; it doesn’t spoil anything but makes the film more intriguing. What follows is a relatively simple story: the girl struggling with the turkey dinner, her oven dying and her running from apartment to apartment trying to find an oven to use; the family driving to visit her, arguing and dreading a conflict-filled visit; the mother, troubled and dying and impulsive; and the girl’s black boyfriend, not at all what her parents are expecting. The ending is fantastic: not a wrong note anywhere. Short and sweet, dramatic without being overdone. This film is a nice, well-done, emotional story without a lot of frills. Perfect.
One tip to the filmmakers: if you use an oven bag, you can cook that 15-pound turkey in two-and-a-half hours instead of five. Of course that would have eliminated one of the film’s central conflicts!