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April 26, 2004 | by  | in Film | [ssba]

Pieces of April

As we suffer through a number of TV actors trying to make it on the big screen, there is hope. Hope from the unlikeliest of shows – Dawson’s Creek. James Van Der Beek was awesome in Rules of Attraction and now Katie Holmes adds to an increasingly impressive body of work with an excellent turn in Pieces of April. Who would have thought that the actors responsible for the contrived and over-dramatic Dawson and Joey would ever amount to anything half decent? Trends can be broken! Pieces of April is a great piece of cinema, a small story with a huge heart. Made for just $300,000, it is a fine reminder that a good story and good actors will always be more important than special effects. The slipshod Matrix Revolutions can piss off, because Pieces of April has me sold.

April (Katie Holmes) is the black sheep of the family; drug rehab, shoplifting – you name it, she has done it. With her mother terminally ill, she sends an invitation to her family for thanksgiving, as next thanksgiving her mother will most likely be dead. The film shifts its focus between the family travelling to her New York apartment and April’s preparation of the meal. The film ends with a montage sequence of the dinner and by focusing on the build up – from April’s valiant struggle to get the meal perfect and put things right, to the family’s apprehensions about attending – the film is given a depth that it might not have had if it had just focussed on “comic”’ dinner table family shenanigans. Subsequently Pieces of April and the relationships it depicts are genuinely believable. This is given further credit by an excellent cast – Oliver Platt and Patricia Clarkson (deservedly Oscar nominated for her role) are absolutely superb as April’s mother and father; Platt as the loving father who never gave up hope and Clarkson as the ailing mother with no hope left, spark well off each other. Katie Holmes as April is great – playing her role with an understated compassion depicting April’s desperation for forgiveness well. The film can be genuinely hilarious and heartbreaking at the same time – a credit to direct Peter Hedges who gets the balance perfect between the two.

Pieces of April is the cinematic equivalent of a breath of fresh of air. It is short, sharp and to the point – an entertaining film with a sweet message, stressing to us the importance of family and that it is never too late for forgiveness.


About the Author ()

James Robinson is a university dropout turned journalist who likes to pretend he has an honours degree. Turn ons include soup, scarfs, a hot bath and some FM-smooth Kenny G-esque instrumental jazz. Turn offs include student politicians, the homeless, and people who pronounce it supposebly.

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