Pieces of April
|Pieces of April|
|Directed by||Peter Hedges|
|Produced by||Gary Winick|
|Written by||Peter Hedges|
|Music by||Stephin Merritt|
|Editing by||Mark Livolsi|
|Distributed by||United Artists|
|Running time||81 minutes|
Pieces of April is a 2003 American comedy-drama film written and directed by Peter Hedges. The film debuted at the Sundance Film Festival. The name is taken from a 1972 hit song by Three Dog Night, which reached No. 19 on the Billboard Hot 100.
April Burns, the eldest daughter in a highly dysfunctional family, lives in a small tenement apartment on the Lower East Side of Manhattan with her boyfriend Bobby. Although estranged from her family, she opts to invite them for Thanksgiving dinner, probably the last for her mother Joy, who has breast cancer.
The film focuses on three journeys: the family's arduous trek from suburbia to New York City, punctuated by stops for Krispy Kreme doughnuts, bagels, Joy's frequent need for a restroom or a joint to ease her pain, a burial service for an animal they hit, and various arguments and recriminations; Bobby's efforts to find a suit so he can make a good impression on his girlfriend's relatives; and April's preparations for the meal, a near disaster when she discovers her oven is broken. With the help of various neighbors, she manages to assemble dinner, while learning to appreciate the importance of family and making some new friends in the process.
- Katie Holmes as April Burns
- Derek Luke as Bobby
- Oliver Platt as Jim Burns
- Patricia Clarkson as Joy Burns
- Alison Pill as Beth Burns
- John Gallagher, Jr. as Timmy Burns
- Alice Drummond as Grandma Dottie
- Isiah Whitlock, Jr. as Eugene
- Lillias White as Evette
- Sean Hayes as Wayne
- Sisqó as Latrell
In his commentary on the film's DVD release, Hedges says the inspiration for his screenplay was twofold — his mother's battle with and death from cancer and a true story about a group of friends whose plans to prepare a communal Thanksgiving dinner were thwarted by a broken stove.
Critical response 
Elvis Mitchell of The New York Times, called the film an "intelligent and touching farce" and added, "Mr. Hedges dances from one vignette to another with a mouthwatering finesse." Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times said "it contains much good humor" and "has a lot of joy and quirkiness; it's well-intentioned in its screwy way, with flashes of human insight, and actors who can take a moment and make it glow." Peter Travers of Rolling Stone magazine, described it as "a playful comedy laced with heartbreak," adding, "It's Holmes who holds Pieces together . . . [she] nails every laugh without missing the dramatic nuances. She makes April and her movie well worth knowing." Carla Meyer of the San Francisco Chronicle called the film " both heartfelt and tough-minded . . . [it] avoids sentimentality at every turn and truly earns both its laughs and its tears."
The film earned a total of approximately $3.2 million worldwide.
Awards and nominations 
- Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress (Patricia Clarkson, nominee)
- Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress - Motion Picture (Clarkson, nominee)
- Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role - Motion Picture (Clarkson, nominee)
- Sundance Film Festival Special Jury Prize for Outstanding Dramatic Performance (Clarkson, winner)
- Independent Spirit Award for Best Screenplay (nominee)
- Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Actress (Clarkson, nominee)
- British Independent Film Award for Best Foreign Film (nominee)
- Boston Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actress (Clarkson, winner)
- Chicago International Film Festival Audience Choice Award (Peter Hedges, winner)
- Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress (Clarkson, winner)
- Florida Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actress (Clarkson, winner)
- National Board of Review Award for Best Supporting Actress (Clarkson, winner)
- National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actress (Clarkson, winner)
- San Francisco Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actress (Clarkson, winner)
- Satellite Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role, Comedy or Musical (Clarkson, winner)
- Vancouver Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actress (Clarkson, winner)
- Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Original Screenplay (nominee)
- Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Overlooked Film of the Year (winner)
- Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Directing Breakout of the Year (nominee)
- Humanitas Prize (Hedges, nominee)
- "Pieces of April (2003)". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster.
- Elvis Mitchell (2003-10-07). "FILM REVIEW; Second Helpings Of Hollow Cheer". New York Times.
- Roger Ebert (2003-10-24). "Pieces of April". Chicago Sun-Times.
- Rolling Stone review[dead link]
- Carla Meyer (2003-10-24). "Fraught holiday in 'Pieces of April'". San Francisco Chronicle.
- Owen Gleiberman (2003-10-31). "Pieces Of April (2003)". Entertainment Weekly. Time Inc.