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"PIECES OF APRIL"
(2003) (Katie Holmes, Patricia Clarkson) (PG-13)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Heavy Minor Moderate Minor None
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Mild None None None Heavy
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Heavy *None Heavy Heavy Mild


QUICK TAKE:
Drama/Comedy: With their terminally ill mother in tow, a family sets off to have Thanksgiving with their estranged daughter who's trying to get her life back on track.
PLOT:
April Burns (KATIE HOLMES) is a young woman trying to get her life back on track. One way of doing that is by making amends with her younger siblings, Beth (ALISON PILL) and Timmy (JOHN GALLAGHER, JR.), dad Jim (OLIVER PLATT) and especially her mom, Joy (PATRICIA CLARKSON). Accordingly, she's invited all of them to her Lower East Side apartment for Thanksgiving.

April's live-in boyfriend, Bobby (DEREK LUKE), thinks it's a great idea and asks her if she needs help preparing the feast. She says no and he heads off to meet an associate, Latrell (SISQO), for some initially undisclosed reason.

It's only then that April discovers that their oven no longer works. Frantic to get the turkey cooked, she visits various neighbors including Wayne (SEAN HAYES), an oddball type with a new oven, and Eugene (ISIAH WHITLOCK, JR.) and Evette (LILLIAS WHITE) who help her out, but can only give her bird half the time it needs.

With her family en route with Grandma Dottie (ALICE DRUMMOND), and everyone trying to cope with Joy's terminal illness, April races to get everything ready before they arrive.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Unless they're fans of someone in the cast, it doesn't seem too likely that many kids will be interested in it.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG-13
For language, sensuality, drug content and images of nudity.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • KATIE HOLMES plays a young woman who's trying to get a fresh start on life after a troubled past and being estranged from her family. She must deal with various complications of hosting Thanksgiving at her place, uses some brief strong profanity and has sex with her live-in boyfriend.
  • DEREK LUKE plays her supportive live-in boyfriend who's off on what seems might be an illegal mission of some sort, but that turns out to be benign. He has sex with her.
  • PATRICIA CLARKSON plays April's mother who's trying to come to terms with her terminal illness as well as her strained relationship with her daughter. She briefly uses some profanity.
  • OLIVER PLATT plays her husband who's trying to deal with his wife's illness and hopes that the family will have at least one last holiday together.
  • ALISON PILL plays April's younger sister who's critical of everything and everyone.
  • JOHN GALLAGHER, JR. plays her brother who's withdrawn into the world of photography to cope with what's occurring.
  • ALICE DRUMMOND plays the family's grandmother who goes along for the ride to April and Bobby's place.
  • ISIAH WHITLOCK, JR. and LILLIAS WHITE play a middle-aged, married couple who assist April with her Thanksgiving preparations.
  • SEAN HAYES plays an oddball neighbor who takes April's turkey hostage.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    Here's a brief summary of the content found in this drama/comedy that's been rated PG-13. Profanity includes at least 1 use of the "f" word along with other expletives and some colorful phrases. Some sexually related dialogue is present, an unmarried, but living together couple has sex (with movement and sounds), and some photos show before and after topless photos of a mastectomy patient.

    Tense family material includes the family reacting to the mother's terminal illness as well as them traveling to see the estranged daughter (with talk of familial relationship problems in the past and present).

    That cancer patient smokes marijuana (presumably medicinal and is twice heard vomiting) and some other drug references are made. Various characters have varying degrees of bad attitudes, including some thugs who apparently beat up and rob a character.

    Should you still be concerned about the film's appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home, you may want to look more closely at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.

    For those prone to motion-induced sickness, various parts of the film (apparently shot with a handheld camera) are very jumpy and move around a lot.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Jim talks about April's ex-boyfriend being a drug dealer.
  • Timmy gives his mom a joint that she smokes (presumably for medicinal purposes related to her cancer). She tells him to roll it tighter next time and then later appears somewhat high from smoking it.
  • Joy briefly comments on April's problems with drugs in the past.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • We hear the sounds of Joy vomiting.
  • We hear more vomiting sounds.
  • We see Bobby with a bloody lip and scrape on his face.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Beth is overly critical of others and thinks of herself as perfect.
  • April slightly makes fun of Wayne's weird ways, unaware that he's still watching her. He then gets mad and takes her turkey hostage, prompting her to try to break into his place via a window along the fire escape.
  • After Beth stops singing in the car and asks for any requests, Joy says, "That you stop." She later apologizes for that.
  • Joy wonders aloud why she's so hard on Beth when it's April that she doesn't like. She then goes on about having no good memories of April and lists what's wrong with her.
  • April's ex-boyfriend and some of his acquaintances surround Bobby. While we don't see any violence, we later see the ex-boyfriend riding Bobby's scooter and then see Bobby with a bloody lip and scrape on his face.
  • Jim and the rest of the family negatively react to their initial sight of Bobby on the street and think he's a criminal or troublemaker. They then drive off and go to a restaurant rather than having Thanksgiving with him and April (although they later change their minds).
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • April's ex-boyfriend and some of his acquaintances surround Bobby in a somewhat menacing fashion.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • None.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "Please give me my stupid f*cking turkey," "Bullsh*t," "Screw the neighbors" (nonsexual), "Shut up," "Hell no," "I'm the first pancake" (referring to being the firstborn in a family with the symbolism being that that's the one that's thrown out when making pancakes), "Hell yeah," "Oh crap," "Hell no," "Pimp," "Like hell it's not" and "God freaking damnit."
  • We see April with a lighter trying to light the inside of her gas oven.
  • We hear (but don't see any flashbacks) that April used to throw matches at Beth and trim Timmy's bangs with a lighter.
  • We see graffiti on various buildings and walls.
  • We see a photo of a person hanging a spoon off their nose.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • None.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 1 "f" word, 3 "s" words, 4 hells, 1 crap, 5 uses of "G-damn," 2 of "Oh my God" and 1 use each of "Oh God" and "Oh Jesus."
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • We see April and Bobby snuggling in bed and then a brief shot of April in her panties. He moves closer to her and she states that she's sleeping (but nothing sexual happens).
  • As Jim looks for Joy, he opens Beth's bedroom door and we briefly see her in her bra (and possibly her panties) as she's getting dressed. We later see the back of her bra as her dress is unzipped in the back.
  • April is on top of Bobby on their bed in a head and shoulders shot. He says they must keep getting ready for their dinner, but she says that they have time. We then see another head and shoulders shot from a different angle of them apparently having sex with her on top, with some movement and sexual sounds (including her climax as she breathlessly talks about the food preparation during that).
  • While high, Joy talks about a rapper, how it seems that he's singing to just her, and about how his sexual material brings up nice memories for her. Beth asks if she means about dad and Joy replies, "Him too."
  • Wayne stares at April's clothed butt (as does the camera representing his point of view).
  • We see a small photo of Joy standing topless before and after her mastectomy (we see her bare breasts and then the scar from surgery). She comments on having the photo so that she can remember them (her breasts).
  • SMOKING
  • A miscellaneous man says his dead mother used to smoke nonstop.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • April tells Bobby that her family probably won't be coming to their home anyway.
  • Joy is terminally ill with cancer and the family must deal with that.
  • A miscellaneous man says he misses his dead mother.
  • Joy wonders aloud why she's so hard on Beth when it's April that she doesn't like. She then goes on about having no good memories of April and lists what's wrong with her.
  • Jim briefly thinks that Joy is dead in the car (she's not, but he's shaken by that thought).
  • We briefly see another mother-daughter squabble in a bathroom.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Strained family relationships.
  • People trying to start anew in life following a troubled past.
  • Beth is overly critical of others and thinks of herself as perfect.
  • Terminal illnesses.
  • Interracial relationships (April is white and Bobby is black).
  • Vegans and vegetarians.
  • We see a small photo of Joy standing topless before and after her mastectomy (we see her bare breasts and then the scar from surgery).
  • VIOLENCE
  • April cuts her finger while slicing potatoes, but we don't see any blood.
  • Jim apparently accidentally hits a squirrel while driving (we don't see the impact).
  • We see April running at Wayne in anger (for kidnapping her turkey) but we don't see what contact, if any, occurs.
  • April's ex-boyfriend and some of his acquaintances surround Bobby. While we don't see any violence, we later see the ex-boyfriend riding Bobby's scooter and then see Bobby with a bloody lip and scrape on his face.



  • Reviewed September 19, 2003 / Posted October 24, 2003

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