Pieces of April (2003)

This sleeper’s off-beat characteristics– most notably its low budget– allow it to highlight the strained relationships between abrasive characters. April’s oven breaks while trying to cook Thanksgiving dinner for her estranged family, which she is hosting in her tiny city apartment. That the footage itself was shot in a rush serves to reinforce the plot’s frenetic time constraint, i.e. trying to reconcile before her mother dies of cancer. Without any gimmicks or tricks, the film relies on the acting chops of a talented cast, who bring a sardonic tone to what could have easily been a bumbling and unnecessarily silly dark comedy.

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