Continuing a look at some Thanksgiving movies, here’s Home for the Holidays, an underrated gem of a holiday movie that might suffer from feeling a little too real. Thanksgiving is recognized as one of the more emotionally scarring holidays, and Jodie Foster in the directorial chair has managed to capture a snapshot of a family that can’t stand being in the same room, but loves each other (for the most part).
A great ensemble fronts a chaotic story of a family at Thanksgiving where the parents are the most ordinary people, but their children are desperately unhappy with themselves or each other for varying reasons. For the most part, this is played for laughs. Holly Hunter gives a very appealing performance as elder sister Claudia. Robert Downey Jr. plays goofy gay brother Tommy, and Cynthia Stevenson plays disapproving, self-loathing sister Joanne. These are all characters you know and can identify with, if you aren’t actively are. Charles Durning and Anne Bancroft are the parents of this mess of a family whose inability to effectively communicate with their children may have led to some of their troubles as adults. Dylan McDermott plays Tommy’s tagalong friend who is actively being set up with Claudia in one his more charming roles. Steve Guttenberg is here, even if he’s absent from the advertising as Joanne’s stodgy, financially minded husband. Why this movie isn’t a staple of holiday viewing is both a mystery and completely understandable. It’s a funny, chaotic movie that might hit a little too close to home for some viewers.
So, strap down one of the turkeys, play some combative touch football, and find Home for the Holidays. Thanksgiving movies are an endangered species, and this is one of the better holiday movies out there, if you like humorous realism that can take a turn to the dramatic at the drop of a dime.
You know, like your actual family.