Pieces Of April

April, the black sheep of the family, is trying to pull her life together, and has invited her family to Thanksgiving dinner in the tiny New York apartment she shares with her boyfriend. This may be her last chance to make things up with her mother, who is dying of cancer.

The film shows two stories in parallel: April’s frantic attempts to get dinner ready after her oven packs up and dies before she has cooked the turkey, and her family’s trip from their comfortable Connecticut house into the city. It’s shot in low-budget digital video, which gives it a down-to-earth, home movie feel. The characters are appropriately stressed about the whole affair, and they react with varying degrees of panic, despair, and hope. Despite the heavy emotional content, it’s is also a very funny film. The varying tone breathes life into the characters, and elevates mundane situations into life-altering interactions. Sweet, honest, and highly recommended.