Around this time of year many people begin to watch holiday classics like It’s a Wonderful Life or White Christmas, but there's a handful of great movies that take place around Thanksgiving worth checking out. I'm not thinking of A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, Miracle on 34th Street, or even Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. Thanksgiving can be a time of anxiety, with tension between family members threatening to spoil the day, so naturally some of the best Thanksgiving films center on dysfunctional families.
Hannah and Her Sisters (1986): This film takes place over the course of two Thanksgivings, following the ups and downs and twists and turns in the lives of three sisters, played by Mia Farrow, Dianne Wiest, and Barbara Hershey. There's sibling rivalry, midlife crises, and hypochondria, but the movie's true charms are the richly human characters and the outstanding soundtrack. This is my favorite Woody Allen film, as well as my favorite movie to watch on Thanksgiving.
The Ice Storm (1997): Set in 1973 suburban Connecticut, this film follows two upper middle class families over Thanksgiving weekend. Much darker than Hannah and Her Sisters, The Ice Storm explores the upheaval in social norms during that time, with amazing performances by Christina Ricci, Kevin Kline, and Sigourney Weaver.
Pieces of April (2003): April, the outcast of her family, offers to cook Thanksgiving dinner for her family in her cramped New York City apartment, but, of course, nothing goes according to plan. I have to admit this movie would be better without Katie Holmes as April, but Patricia Clarkson and Oliver Platt as April's parents make up for Holmes' lackluster performance, and the soundtrack by the Magnetic Fields doesn't hurt either.
Hannah and Her Sisters