The witty, yet dark “Pieces of April” proves that
there is life after TV drama for actress Katie Holmes. The
ex-“Dawson’s Creek” star takes on a more mature
role as an urban 21-year-old named April, on a mission to host
Thanksgiving dinner for her family. While April frantically tries
to find an oven to cook the turkey, her family makes their way from
Pennsylvania to the lower east side of New York City. The narrative
is touching and funny but also taps into deeper stories surrounding
a mother’s (Patricia Clarkson, Oscar-nominated for her
performance) battle with breast cancer and years of family
dysfunction.

“Pieces of April” is brief at 80 minutes and is
presented on DVD in both widescreen and full frame format. Shot
with digital video, the picture quality is well suited for the
story it displays and the 5.1 digital surround sound allows for a
crisp portrayal of the real life sounds of Thanksgiving.

Though the DVD offers only two extra features, they provide
insight into all aspects of the film. The audio commentary from
soft-spoken writer-director Peter Hedges explains interesting
details about casting, shooting the film in 16 days and his
personal incentives for many scenes. A 15-minute featurette
entitled “All Pieces Together” retells much of the
story but also allows actors to express their views on the film and
provides some on-set footage. The music and graphics of this
feature are especially attractive.

 

Movie: 4 out of 5 stars

Picture/Sound: 3 out of 5 stars

Features: 2 out of 5 stars

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