Familiar Strangers

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Familiar Strangers
Directed by Zack Adler
Produced by Barry R. Sisson and Marc Lieberman
Written by John Bell
Starring Shawn Hatosy
DJ Qualls
Tom Bower
Nikki Reed
Ann Dowd
Cameron Richardson
Georgia Mae Lively
Release date
  • March 27, 2008 (2008-03-27) (Method Fest Independent Film Festival)
  • November 14, 2008 (2008-11-14) (United States)
Country United States
Language English
Box office $34,068[1]

Familiar Strangers (formerly known as Pretzels & Pills) is a 2008 film about an American family going through the process of negotiating the changing relationships between parents and children, especially as those children grow into adulthood.


The film follows the Worthington family through a four-day Thanksgiving family gathering. Brian, who has moved away and kept his distance for the past several years, is reluctantly returning for this family tradition carrying the baggage of conflict with his father, Frank.

Frank feels he has failed as a father, having lost the ability to connect with his maturing children. When the children grew to adulthood and created their own identities and lives, Frank replaced them with his pets, new children “who never have to grow up”.

The film is populated by Frank and Brian, mother Dottie who holds the reins on this family beneath the surface, brother Kenny who as a twenty-something has not yet found his path, sister Erin who is struggling to find herself after a painful divorce, and Erin’s young daughter Maddy, truly wise beyond her years.

Through this story and the conflict and communication that occur, the Worthington family comes to recognize the friendship and love that can exist between parents and their adult children.



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