April’s movie brings showers of praise

Aprils movie brings showers of praise

by Matt Bower

“Pieces of April” is a poignant comedy that hits all the rightnerves and the funny bone.

21-year-old April Burns, played by Katie Holmes, lives with herboyfriend Bobby, played by Derek Luke, in a rundown apartmentbuilding on the lower East side of New York City.

April has never gotten along with her mother Joy, played byPatricia Clarkson, who is terminally ill with some type ofcancer.

However, Bobby is able to persuade April to host her family forThanksgiving. All seems well as April starts preparing theThanksgiving feast and Bobby leaves to run an errand.

April soon runs into a problem; her oven is broken so she seekshelp. April finds a couple that are willing to help her out bydelaying the start of their cooking and allowing her to use theiroven for an hour.

Eugene and Evette, played by Isaiah Whitlock and Lillias Whiterespectively, soon must cook their own bird and this leaves Aprilin search of another stove.

She continues to look for willing tenants even though they maybe strangers to her. She finds that Wayne, played by Sean Hayes, iswilling to let her use his brand new convection oven.

As April attempts to keep things rolling despite her bad luckand as Bobby is running his mysterious errand, the rest of theBurns family is slowly and reluctantly making their way to thecity.

Jim, played by Oliver Platt, is the father and husband who isdetermined to make this a pleasant visit and a good memory.

Joy is convinced it will be a disaster and yet another badmemory of April since she cannot recall any good ones.

Beth, played by Alison Pill, constantly reminds everyone of herolder sister’s shortcomings and is the one most against going toApril’s for Thanksgiving. Timmy, played by John Gallagher Jr., isthe youngest sibling and spends most of the time taking pictures ofthe awkward family moments.

And Grandma Dottie, played by Alice Drummond, is Joy’s motherand the grandmother that can hardly remember anything.

The film tells a heart-touching story that will not fail to makeyou laugh as well. One such scene shows Joy in a rest stop bathroomwith Timmy and she lights up a joint, takes a puff, and tells herson to roll it tighter next time.

The film may appear to end too abruptly clocking in at an hourand 20 minutes.

The movie spends most of the time building up to the final fewscenes. The way in which it ends is a nice way of tying thingstogether and the photo theme fits well.

“Pieces of April” marks the directorial debut of West Des Moinesnative Peter Hedges, who also wrote the story, and he does awonderful job on his first outing.

He manages to take a poignant story and throw in just the rightamount of laughs to compliment the sorrow.

Katie Holmes is superb as the lead; a rebellious tattoo coveredand body pierced individual who comes to learn not only whatThanksgiving means but also learns who she is.

Patricia Clarkson gives an Oscar-worthy performance as theterminally ill cancer patient. Oliver Platt also gives a shiningperformance in his role as the family man.

“Pieces of April” did very well at the Sundance Film Festivaland is currently playing in select theaters. It is just the rightfilm at just the right time.