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Pieces of April (2003)



Average Rating: 7.2/10
Critic Reviews: 38
Fresh: 33 | Rotten: 5

A delightful, heartfelt comedy.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.3/5
User Ratings: 29,111

My Rating

Movie Info

Novelist and screenwriter Peter Hedges makes his directorial debut with the comedy drama Pieces of April. Family outcast April Burns (Katie Holmes) lives in a beat-up apartment in New York's Lower East Side with her boyfriend, Bobby (Derek Luke). In order to spend some time with her dying mother, Joy (Patricia Clarkson), April invites her conservative suburban family to her place for a Thanksgiving feast. She discovers that her oven is broken the morning of the big day, so she goes around her


Drama, Comedy

Peter Hedges

Feb 24, 2004


United Artists - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (149) | Top Critics (39) | Fresh (124) | Rotten (23) | DVD (24)

Laughter and poignancy go hand in hand in this DV debut whose comedy that may be standard, but never ceases to deliver sharp, dark laughs.

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Pieces of April is built around the tired premise of a dysfunctional family's Thanksgiving get-together, but -- surprise -- it's fresh.

August 7, 2004 Full Review Source: New York Magazine
New York Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Longer on calculating sourness than on psychologically organic wit.

February 5, 2004 Full Review Source: New York Observer
New York Observer
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's in the cross-cutting between April's disaster-prone preparations and her family's turbulent journey that Hedges's movie finds its lively and likeable rhythm.

November 14, 2003 Full Review Source: Toronto Star
Toronto Star
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This is one of those quietly wonderful films that really deserves an audience.

November 11, 2003 Full Review Source: Ebert & Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The film more than earns its heartwarming finale by virtue of the skilled performances of the leads.

November 7, 2003 Full Review Source: Globe and Mail
Globe and Mail
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Thought-provoking, engaging; mid-teens and older.

December 27, 2010 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

Peter Hedges sustains the idea this family's interactions have begun with bared teeth for years. If they can summon it, one comforting moment will have to do. At best, it's a ramshackle reconciliation of tough-minded emotion and well-earned laughter.

September 17, 2010 Full Review Source:

An entertaining character study with the holiday theme...

April 29, 2009 Full Review Source: Cinema Crazed
Cinema Crazed

April's cranberry sauce may be canned but the laughter and tears of an affecting, unsentimental coda are real.

November 24, 2008 Full Review Source: Film4

Pieces of April has its heart in the right place, and while it may not always be entirely successful, marks a promising debut for a talented filmmaker.

October 18, 2008 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

Screenwriter Peter Hedges makes his directorial debut with the best entry to date in the burgeoning Thanksgiving Day-from-hell genre.

August 7, 2008 Full Review Source: Sacramento News & Review
Sacramento News & Review

Had Hedges gone with unknown actors, or non-professionals, it might have worked, but with recognisable faces one can never quite suspend disbelief enough to care about the characters.

December 7, 2007 Full Review Source: Eye for Film | Comment (1)
Eye for Film

A delightful, charming, instant holiday classic which makes us laugh repeatedly while delivering an emotionally satisfying message about unconditional love.

April 16, 2007 Full Review Source: Princeton Town Topics
Princeton Town Topics

A series of terrific performances (led by the amazing Patricia Clarkson) make this unusual Thanksgiving comedy a feast for the mind.

August 8, 2006 Full Review Source: Cinema Sight
Cinema Sight

A shining example of just how compelling and affecting low-budget filmmaking can be when you've got a good story and strong cast.

April 1, 2006 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

Peter Hedges has made a simple and sweet movie that will leave you misty eyed.

December 6, 2005 Full Review Source: Film Threat
Film Threat

A film to savor and to be thankful for.

December 6, 2005 Full Review Source: Film Threat
Film Threat

Holmes, Clarkson, and Platt steer the course through the straight and narrow and keep the film from becoming an inedible holiday leftover.

December 6, 2005 Full Review Source: Film Threat
Film Threat

Es una pequeña peliculita, pero con una sensibilidad enorme.

March 3, 2005 Full Review Source: Uruguay Total
Uruguay Total

This delightful little miracle of a movie reminds us of how crucial it is that we appreciate and love each other in spite of our failures, grudges, and disappointments.

January 15, 2005
Looking Closer

..I can't stress enough the grace and beauty of Peter Hedges' haunting picture ..

December 6, 2004 Full Review Source:

Katie Holmes... gives her most subtle and audacious performance yet...

December 3, 2004 Full Review Source: Flick Filosopher
Flick Filosopher

[Katie] Holmes doesn't so much react as put on an appropriate expression.

April 15, 2004 Full Review Source:

Audience Reviews for Pieces of April

A one part great movie and one part bad movie. The storylines of Derek Luke and Katie Holmes are perfect and extremely well done, while the scenes with the family are the same cliche seen over and over. I think what also works extremely well is the cinematography and documentary look. It feels like you're living in this apartment building and taking a look at a real place rather than fiction. Overall, it works. It's just not as good as it theoretically could have been.
May 26, 2010

Super Reviewer

I've wanted to see this movie for a while. It was definitely enjoyable. I'm starting to like these quirky, independent, true-to-life movies more than the big action blockbusters actually. You could feel the awkwardness of both sides of the family through the television.
October 2, 2009

Super Reviewer

A disappointing indie film that promised so much more. Only Patricia Clarkson?s performance is worth watching for as she?s, as always, on great form.
September 28, 2009

Super Reviewer

Katie Holmes was impressive. I love that Peter Hedges takes the simple event of Thanksgiving dinner and paints an extremely thorough picture of it. Quirky and delicious.
October 1, 2007

Super Reviewer

    1. Joy Burns: I'm glad we're going, Jim. This way instead of April showing up with some new piercing, tattoo, and, God forbid, staying overnight, this way we get to show up, experience the disaster that is her life, smile, and before we know it, we're on our way back home.
    – Submitted by Frances H (6 months ago)
View all quotes (1)

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Foreign Titles

  • Retrato de April (ES)
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