Cinema Consults: Pieces of April

Physician's Money Digest, April30 2004, Volume 11, Issue 8

This film, which can be rented from your local video store, is rated on a scale of 1 to 4 caducei:

Pieces of April

PIECES OF APRIL (2003): There comes a time in almost every person's life when they realize that their family isn't perfect. And, hopefully, there also comes a time when they find out that despite the imperfections, family is a source of great comfort. In we meet a family in the midst of their struggle to achieve this realization. April (Katie Holmes) is the estranged daughter who clearly has had her share of family trauma and personal rebellion, but in an attempt to reach out to her family she offers to host Thanksgiving dinner in her dilapidated New York City apartment. There is a sense of urgency in this awkward family gathering, because April's mother (Patricia Clarkson) is fighting breast cancer. The movie follows both April's preparation of the meal–which is fraught with peril–and the family's journey from their suburban home to their daughter's apartment. Through both of these relatively mundane acts we learn how all of the characters are struggling with their family's rift as well as each character's flaws and strengths. The direction is dramatic and also playful, capturing small moments that would be overlooked by the hasty observer. These moments speak volumes, crafting a story that makes you laugh and cry without bearing down on you. There is so much in this film to experience and enjoy; I just loved it.

Rating: 4

Lisa A. Tomaszewski, managing editor of Physician's Money Digest, is currently working on her PhD in literature at Drew University in New Jersey. She is an avid fan of film and has taught a summer film course at Fairleigh Dickinson University. She welcomes questions, comments, or suggestions for future film reviews at 732-656-1140 ext 195 or ltomaszewski@mwc.com.