Pieces of April

We watched “Pieces of April” last night (Thanksgiving). It’s the fourth time I’ve seen this film, which introduced Katie Holmes. It’s the simplest story: April wants to make Thanksgiving dinner for her family, who are coming to her Lower East Side apartment from upstate. The problem, as she discovers, is that her oven doesn’t work. Thus begins the journey inside her own apartment building as she searches for a loaner oven. The turkey goes in and out of three of them. Most hilariously, it spends an interlude in the brand-new, multi-featured oven of a prissy bachelor, Wayne, who has a pug named Bernadette. Things go awry between April and Wayne, and he holds her turkey hostage, which ultimately results in the loss of his toupé.

Meantime, a second journey is underway as the Burns family makes their slow progress along narrow roads in what appear to be the Catskills. Things haven’t been going too well between Joy and her renegade daughter April. And Joy is suffering, having endured a mastectomy. Patricia Clarkson, one of my favorite actresses, plays the part to the hilt. There are many stops along the way: the old folks’ home for grandma, a medical marijuana break for Joy, a roadside service to bury a roadkill squirrel. They’re such a quirky bunch. Too much of this would become tedious, but the scenes are brief and full of detail, and the actors play their parts so well.

The story veers past a potentially bad ending, and all are brought together for a joyous celebration—except prissy Wayne, who shares his holiday exclusively with Bernadette.

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