This year I'm thankful for a lot, but mostly Pieces of April. There's a lot to love about the 2003 classic: the fresh and touching plot, the real look at relatives, and stellar performances from Katie Holmes, Derek Luke, and wish-they-were-your-parents Oliver Platt and Patricia Clarkson. But a big part that got me is that Thanksgiving takes place in an apartment on the Lower East Side.
With respect to another classic, Pieces of April trades the suburban mansion that is most holiday films' definition of home for a six-floor Manhattan walk-up, showing that togetherness isn't solely the provenance of tree-lined driveways and roaring fireplaces.
And it doesn't just take place in an apartment, but many apartments — as April runs from floor to floor, trying to cook her turkey, we get a peek into the rooms and lives of her neighbors. As a city kid, I loved that home was urban. As a nosy person, I loved the chance to look inside everyone's place.
If you can't tell by now, I like this movie. A lot. A tribute to the residents and their apartments seems like the least I can do.
April and Bobby (3C): Our protagonists' place has that look a lot of people's do when they're starting out: scattershot sense of decor, vaguely vintage, bead curtain. Oh right, and a huge, uncooked turkey.
Man in Mohair Sweater (1C): Hoarding. Cats. April doesn't get beyond his doorway, which is probably for the best.
Evette and Eugene (2B): African art and textiles decorate the walls of this no-nonsense couple's abode. Although initially Evette bursts out laughing at April's "white girl problems", they're soon seated on their overstuffed leather couch, which looks as comfortable as they are kind.
Tish (4A): We don't actually see the inside of Tish's apartment, just a doorway with lots of political stickers and a hint of a dreamcatcher. Unfortunately, her liberal philosophy does not extend to cooking meat.
Wayne (5D): What is this guy doing with a new convection oven in this building? Why do creeps have cute pugs? These are all questions. Wayne's surroundings are immaculate — so spotless, it's a little uncomfortable.
The Tans (apartment unknown): The Tans' home is pretty with lacquer and lucky with red, and the latter works: April's turkey does its final stint in their oven, and comes out golden and perfect.