Pieces of April

  • Review Date: February 23, 2004
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2003
  • Running Time: 80 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Thought-provoking, engaging; mid-teens and older.
  • Review Date: February 23, 2004
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2003
  • Running Time: 80 minutes

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive role models

Exceptionally positive portrayal of an inter-racial romance and of non-stereotyped minority characters.

Violence

Off-screen violent encounter.

Sex

Unmarried couple co-habitate, some brief graphic images of nudity.

Language

Some strong language.

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Reference to drug dealer, social drinking.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this movie has some strong language, some off-screen violence, medicinal marijuana and some brief but graphic nudity. Emotionally, this could be tough since it involves troubled parent/child relationships and the finality of death.

Parents say

Kids say

Not yet rated
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What's the story?

It's Thanksgiving, and April (Katie Holmes) and Bobby (Derek Luke) wake up very early in their apartment on the Lower East Side of New York. He is looking forward to hosting her family, but she isn't. April and Bobby start to get things ready, and then he leaves because he has "that thing" he has to do. As soon as he goes, April discovers that her oven does not work, so she wanders through her apartment building with her turkey, trying to find someone who will allow her to borrow an oven. Meanwhile, her family is no happier about the day than she is. Joy (Patricia Clarkson), April's mother, has cancer. This will probably be her last Thanksgiving. She and April have a strained relationship and both are overwhelmed by the fear that they will not be able to find a way to make it work this time. The family drives to New York: daughter Beth (Alison Pill) trying to be perfect, son Timmy (John Gallagher, Jr.) trying to remove himself by taking pictures of everything, dad Jim (Oliver Platt) trying to keep everyone happy, and Joy's mother (Alice Drummond), trying to hold on to her own memories, and Joy, angry and bitter and trying not to try anymore.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

PIECES OF APRIL is a movie that does more than trust its audience; it invites the audience to participate by bringing their own ideas and experiences to fill in the story. The film is shot on digital video, which gives it intimacy and a little messiness. It's easy to believe that it is a home movie. The performances are fresh and unaffected. The look on Beth's face as she tries to maintain her cheerful demeanor after her feelings are hurt; Jim's eyes as he looks over at Joy, not sure whether she's sleeping or dead; Bobby's description of being in love, the neighbors' cooking advice, April's explanation of Thanksgiving to a Chinese family, and especially the lovely last scene are moments that are real and touching and meaningful.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how they feel about their relationships with you and about one of the movie's great strengths -- its non-stereotyped portrayals of minorities from the terminally ill to African American and Asian characters. You could also talk about the movie's theme of memories. What are some of your favorite memories and what memories do you most want to make?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:October 17, 2003
DVD release date:February 24, 2004
Cast:Katie Holmes, Oliver Platt, Patricia Clarkson
Director:Peter Hedges
Studio:MGM/UA
Genre:Comedy
Run time:80 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:language, sensuality, drug content and images of nudity

This review of Pieces of April was written by

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About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Adult Written byPoptartpm April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
QUALITY
 
Teen, 16 years old Written byYossarian April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
QUALITY
 
I did not expect this movie to be as good as it is. I loved all of of the characters, except the mom and the little sister. It does a great job of showing someone going to great lengths to make something they care about really work, not for themselves, but for someone else.
Parent Written byknordick July 19, 2012
AGE
13
QUALITY
 

No big deal, good movie.

It is a little mature but nothing really you have to tell the kids to turn their heads for.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

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