Wednesday, November 17, 2010

It's Not Just Your Family

Home for the Holidays (1995) is an enjoyable little Thanksgiving movie jampacked with some big talent. Directed by Jodie Foster, it's about an art restorer named Claudia (Holly Hunter) who loses her job Thanksgiving eve and reluctantly heads home to spend the holidays at her parents' (Anne Bancroft, Charles Durning) house. Crazy Aunt Glady (Geraldine Chaplin) will be there, along with her uptight sister Joanne (Cynthia Stevenson), and Joanne's husband (Steve Guttenberg) and kids. And for moral support, Claudia's favorite sibling Tommy (Robert Downey Jr.) arrives with a handsome friend in tow (Dylan McDermott).

The tension comes from the siblings, all three of whom are so different from one another that small slights—real or perceived—that have been smoldering for decades are about to erupt in a powder keg explosion at the dinner table. What they really think of one another is about to be revealed, and what comes out of prim Joanne's mouth is shocking. Oh, and Aunt Glady and Papa Henry reveal a secret when the dust settles that surprises everyone.

Maybe it's the heat from the kitchen or the too-close proximity of family, but holidays are apt to be an equal measure of high spirits and hostility. Grievances aren't only aired during Festivus, you know.

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