This Thanksgiving is no turkey

Writer-director Peter Hedges managed to tell one of 2003’s sweeter stories with this tale of a wayward daughter, April (Katie Holmes), trying to prepare what could be her dying mother’s (Patricia Clarkson) last Thanksgiving meal. When she goes to put the turkey in the oven, she discovers it’s broken, requiring her to beg antisocial neighbors for assistance. Made on the most meager of budgets, the film represents a true stepping stone for Holmes, who comes into her own as April. Clarkson was given a deserved Oscar nomination, and supporting work from Oliver Platt (perhaps his best role to date) and Derek Luke help to make this a terrific example of ensemble acting. The film’s conclusion, a beautifully honest and surprising moment, stays with you. Hedges, who wrote What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, makes an impressive directing debut. Stephin Merritt contributes tear-inducing music.

Special Features: Not loaded, but there is a decent commentary by Hedges and a “making-of” documentary called All the Pieces Together. Supplements are nothing special, but the movie is a keeper.

Movie: A-

Special Features: C+

Geek Factor: 4