“Home for the Holidays”: Another Dysfunctional Thanksgiving Gathering

In the Home for the Holidays (1995), a daughter comes home to a dysfunctional Thanksgiving gathering. Claudia (Holly Hunter), age 40 and single, leaves Chicago for the home of her parents in Baltimore. Among the other guests for Thanksgiving are her sister and family, her brother Tommy (Robert Downey, Jr.) who’s with an apparently new boyfriend (Dylan McDermott), a nutty aunt, and an old male friend her mom Adele (Anne Bancroft) wants her to get to know again.

Furthermore, as stated by the website IMDB:

Beyond the disasters and potential disasters Claudia is anticipating as well as the unexpected ones that do ultimately occur at dinner, Claudia is most concerned about what happened between Tommy and his long term boyfriend, Jack Gordon, and what her own teen-aged daughter, Kitt, is doing at home without her.

Directed by Jodie Foster, the film’s screenplay is adapted by W.D. Richter from Chris Radant‘s short story. Here’s the Home for the Holidays trailer:

Some Significant Snippets

Claudia on the true meaning of this holiday: “Nobody means what they say on Thanksgiving, Mom. You know that. That’s what the day’s supposed to be all about, right? Torture.”

And then there’s Claudia’s mom, Adele: “I’m giving thanks that we don’t have to go through this for another year. Except we do, because those bastards went and put Christmas right in the middle, just to punish us.”

And an exchange between Claudia and Joanne (Cynthia Stevenson), her conservative sister:

Claudia: You don’t know the first thing about me.
Joanne: Likewise, I’m sure. If I just met you on the street… if you gave me your phone number… I’d throw it away.
Claudia: Well, we don’t have to like each other, Jo. We’re family.

A Couple Reviews of Home for the Holidays

Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle: “Neither caustic nor sentimental, it’s a film that maybe half the people on Earth have at one time considered writing.”

Rogerebert.com: “…What Foster and Richter have created here is a film that understands the reality expressed by Robert Frost when he wrote, ‘Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in’.”

Have a happy Thanksgiving. Enjoy your “family”—whatever that term encompasses for you today.

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