Pieces of April (2003)


Critic Consensus: Pieces of April transcends its small-scale setting and budget with endearing performances, playful humor, and genuine sweetness, resulting in a touching holiday treat.


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Movie Info

April Burns is a wild, 21-year-old young woman with a very big problem. Against her own better judgment, she's invited her estranged, straight laced family for Thanksgiving dinner. Her boyfriend, Bobby, wants to help, but she banishes him from the apartment while she attempts to cook the meal. To make matters worse, she then discovers that her oven doesn't work. So, while April is forced to ask her eccentric neighbors for help in cooking her fifteen pound turkey, the Burns Family begins a reluctant journey from suburban Pennsylvania toward New York City's Lower East Side. April's Dad, Jim Burns tries to convince the family that the day will be beautiful. However, her mom, Joy, has her doubts and freely voices them. April's teenage sister and brother are squeezed between Grandma Dottie, and a bag of snacks in the back seat, as the Burns' family car hurtles toward Manhattan--and what will most likely be disaster.

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Katie Holmes
as April Burns
Oliver Platt
as Jim Burns
Alison Pill
as Beth Burns
John Gallagher Jr.
as Timmy Burns
Alice Drummond
as Grandma Dottie
as Latrell
Vitali Baganov
as Half Asleep Man
Adrian Martinez
as Man in Mohair Sweater
Jamari Richardson
as Boy on Bicycle
Leila Danette
as Woman in Stairwell
Stephen Chen
as Lee Loung Tan
Sally Leung Bayer
as Lee Quong Tan
Marcus Lovett
as Parade Announcer
Jack Chen
as Lee Quong
Rosa Luo
as Lee Wai Yam
Birdie M. Hale
as Woman Outside Bodega
Anney Giobbe
as Young Mother
Rusty Dewees
as Joy's Biker Guy
Vincent Roselli
as Timmy's Biker Guy
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Critic Reviews for Pieces of April

All Critics (150) | Top Critics (39)

Thanksgiving just wouldn't be Thanksgiving without a dysfunctional family reunion, but writer-director Peter Hedges comes up with an original take on the holiday disaster theme in the quiet gem Pieces of April.

Nov 8, 2018 | Full Review…

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.

Jun 24, 2006 | Full Review…
Time Out
Top Critic

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

Aug 7, 2004

Longer on calculating sourness than on psychologically organic wit.

Feb 5, 2004
Top 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.

Nov 14, 2003 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

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

Nov 11, 2003

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.

Conner Rainwater
Conner Rainwater

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.

Megan S
Megan S

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.

Jennifer Xu
Jennifer Xu

Super Reviewer


The surprisingly refreshing story of a family estranged from their daughter, April. April has been a "screw-up" and a "misfit" and she never seems to do anything right. The family thinks that she is just trying to make them mad and maybe she was..., but now she is trying to put it back together. YES...you have seen this plot before in many incarnations, but not through these eyes. If you watch the movie you will find that the subject hits close to home for the writer/director. Also, the vehicle used to speak to helping one another is truly unique (the oven/turkey...you'll get it when you see the movie). Great performances by Patricia Clarkson and Oliver Platt. Solid performance from Katie Holmes. Enjoy!

Dean L
Dean L

Super Reviewer

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