In a very poor zone of New York, April Burns and her boyfriend, the Afro-American Bobby, are preparing to receive April's family for thanksgiving dinner. While Bobby tries to borrow a suit for himself, April realizes that her stove is broken. She tries desperately to find a neighbor that can let her cook the turkey, since she does not want to fail (again) with her family. Meanwhile, in a suburb of Pennsylvania, her dysfunctional family is preparing to travel to New York. While driving, the relationship between the Burns and their black-sheep April is disclosed through the conversations between her father Jim, her resented mother Joy, her brother, her sister and her grandmother.Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
"Once there was this one day where everybody seemed to know they needed each other. This one day when they knew for certain that they couldn't do it alone." (April, trying to explain the origins of Thanksgiving.) That ultimately is what this movie is about -- people needing people, and the inter-relationships of people. It's about April and her family, but it's also about April and Bobby, the Lee family, Eugene and Evette, and even Wayne, who needs somebody, but misses connecting once again. Jim needs Joy, Bobby needs Latrell, Joy needs her family, she and Timmy need the bikers, and it just goes on and on. We all need one another and touch one another, and those touches spread out and out. Beautiful.
I also loved all the little twists, such as the stiff, middle-aged mother chiding her teenage son about properly rolling a joint; and the puncturing of stereotypes and prejudices. When Bobby's waiting by the phone for Latrell, it's probably tempting to think he's doing a drug deal or some other unsavory activity. But I knew better; I was laughing well before it was revealed what they were up to. Magnificent.
Another one to add to the video library, and I'm going to have to check out more Peter Hedges (though I have seen Gilbert Grape).
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