November brings us the most American of holidays – Thanksgiving. Although the best Thanksgiving movies aren’t as well known as the best Christmas movies, they are still definitely worth watching.
Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)
Woody Allen used the annual holiday meal—and Mia Farrow’s actual Central Park West apartment—as a repeated motif in one of his most sophisticated romantic comedies. Suffused with urbane chat and book-lined coziness, these scenes provide instant nostalgia for a generation of New Yorkers. Bonus T-day points: The movie is actually about giving thanks—to the people who love and endure you, to the fates that keep you healthy and to the Marx Brothers for providing a reason to live.
Plains, Trains, and Automobiles (1987)
Gone too soon, John Candy gave one of his more deceptively complex performances in this bad-luck comedy about two business travelers flung together on an odyssey after their Thanksgiving flight is waylaid in Kansas. That gravy boat never seemed so distant.
Scent of a Woman (1992)
Forever the film that finally won Al Pacino his Oscar (and thus, always a target for unfair comparisons), this drama about the bonding between a blinded, alcoholic Army officer—“hoo-ah!”—and the young prep-school student who sees to his rages actually works perfectly fine as an afternoon diversion. A little shameless in parts, it’s the kind of charming, midsize Hollywood movie that’s all but extinct now.
Pieces of April (2003)
Riding high with Dawson’s Creek, Katie Holmes confidently anchors this dark Sundance comedy about a young Lower East Sider who draws her bitter, broken relatives to her shitty apartment for a Thanksgiving reunion. The oven doesn’t work, Mom’s dying of breast cancer and everyone’s in a foul mood, but this one deserves a spin for its concentrated inventiveness and touching finish.