On the fourth thursday in november 84 million american families will gather together.. And wonder why. Studio: Tcfhe/mgm Release Date: 10/17/2006 Starring: Holly Hunter Steve Guttenberg Run time: 103 minutes Rating: P... more »g13 Director: Jodie Foster« less
Rachelle F. from PORTLAND, OR Reviewed on 10/21/2012...
I watch this every year just before Thanksgiving. It gives me the courage to face my family get togethers. This is a laugh out loud movie! And yet, it rings of absolute truth about the rediculousness and disfunction of adults getting together as the family they aren't any longer.
2 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
DIANE M. (bookaholic) from PARADISE, PA Reviewed on 11/30/2009...
This is a story of a family coming together for one Thanksgiving with all their different personalities clashing. It is very funny but also contains some sweet and touching moments too. The whole cast is perfect. With Anne Bancroft, Charles Durning, Robert Downey Jr., Holly Hunter, Dylan McDermott, and Clare Dane and great writing, it couldn't miss. And Geraldine Chaplin as the eccentric Aunt Gladys is hilarious. A really good original movie--not to be missed.
2 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
CiLissa H. (prismwolf) from TAYLORSVILLE, NC Reviewed on 2/28/2008...
So funny! We all think we have quirky family's this is like the best movie for Thanks Giving/Christmas season.
2 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
Lorraine S. (rainey) from WOODLAND HLS, CA Reviewed on 11/19/2007...
I thought this was well crafted with interesting casting. I loved all the characters but I can never get enough Robert Downey Jr and Cynthia Stevenson is always such a joy to watch I don't know why we don't see her more.
It's wickedly funny and I don't think there's a single performance that's missing anything.
3 of 3 member(s) found this review helpful.
Going home again
James Hiller | Beaverton, OR | 12/01/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Home for the Holidays" is a quiet, fun little film that I dust off once or twice a year (usually around Thanksgiving!) and sit back and absolutely enjoy. It's become a comfort film for me, one of honesty, predictability, and enjoyment. It's a wonder more people haven't discovered this mini-classic.Holly Hunter plays Claudia, a forty year old woman forced to endure calamity after calamity on her way to her parent's house for the Thanksgiving holiday. Hunter has her role sewn up from the moment we see her; she encapsulates Claudia and makes her very real as she is conforted with mini-nightmares. These problems plague her, only to define her life as unrealized, possibly misdirected. That Hunter refuses to play her as a sack sad, or someone pitiful, is a testament to her understanding of Claudia. The script avoids usual the "family cliches" by showing us a dysfunctional family that functions quite well. Gay brother Tommy, so perfectly mastered by Robert Downey Jr., always the family clown, removes his "make-up" and shows incredible sensitivity when he rescues his sister from her holiday horror. Dylan McDermott charms his way quietly as Leo Fish, and you believe his sincerity towards Claudia. Cynthnia Stevenson and Steve Guttenberg rock as the high strung power couple so insistent on perfection in their imperfect lives. And the wonderful Charles Durning and Anne Bancroft as the parents, so beleaguered, so joyful, so real.While the performances shine, the script shines even brighter, offering little solutions with much insight. You understand Claudia's trauams, but know that none of them are resolvable within a two hour film, and that's ok. Even the ending, which suggests that even daring to dream is enough, is absolutely perfect for this film. A less experienced screenwriter would have fallen into the cliche trap and wrapped everything up in a neat bow, which this film suggests, is simply not possible."Home for the Holidays" is a signature piece by Jodie Foster, one that people who enjoy a truly good film won't be there to pass up. I hope Foster follows up by directing more classics such as this; American cinema would be better for it."
Home for the Holidays has more than a few good moments
James Hiller | 06/15/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Its only fair to say up front that "Home For the Holidays" is the kind of movie not everybody will understand or enjoy, especially those with good well adjusted lives. However, for we huddled masses, this film is like a smiling little angle in some newly restored Renaissance masterpiece as director Jodie Foster paints with brilliant flare a portrait of a typical middle-class family at Thanksgiving. That is...a typical less than functional...American family. We, who are products of such, know what's meant by that, and appreciate the true beauty of this work is that it lets you recall the pain and joy that only families can give. At first glance Home For The Holidays is a good-old-fashioned comedy about the reality of family values and holiday reunions. It follows the return of Claudia Larson (Holly Hunter), a 30-something never been married single-mom eldest daughter professional with a exotic career, to the childhood home for the much-dreaded November 25th holiday feast. In the course of one short not-so-good day she loses her glamorous job, self-respect, and expensive fabulously beautiful coat. As she prepares to board the plane her 15-year-old daughter, Kit (Clare Danes), informs her in a passing after thought..."I'm going to have sex with Tim, safely, and not in the car, have a nice Thanksgiving." Now, the terrified-of-flying Clyde endures the always-bumpy mind-numbing siege of a Fall flight from Chicago to Baltimore siting next to the somebody's mom passenger-from-hell. She is primmed, prelimed, and primed for a close encounter of the parental kind. Adele, (Anne Bancroft), is an all knowing neurotic chain-smoking..."why are you squandering your god given talents"...kind of well meaning mom with a more than slightly unsound but flatulent sister, Aunt Glady (Geraldine Chaplin). She was a Latin teacher! Henry Larson, the dad (Charles During) , a recently retired BWI (Baltimore/Washington International) flight mechanic, spouts profound non sequiturs and drives both the car and wife a little more crazy by the minute. Like a slowly drowning pouch in the bottomless pool of parentally concern the diminutive Clyde's shrinks ever younger with deafened eyes glazed just over the rim of a10 year-old three-sizes-too-big spare bright red parka. Of course mom and dad play their hydrous game of catch-up. When, from the back seat mom leans over and whispers..."I can see your roots Claudia"...and you're greeted at the door by Frank the cat coughing up a hairball, you know your really home. To Clyde's unbemused delight Tommy (Robert Downey), the favorite baby brother makes a surprise night-vision goggle raid that culminates in ballroom kitchen dancing and a late snack. They all know Tommy sports many hats as a successful Boston restaurateur, manic wisecracking prankster, Polaroid popping paparazzi, and a mans-man. But now he has a relationship secret that Clyde will pry out if it kills him. She thinks something awful has happen between Tommy and his significant other, Jack (Sam Slovick). She also resents, no questions her brother's new guy pal in-tow, specialty cook Leo Fish's (Dylan McDarmatt), incessant sucking up. That is, until it finally dawns that he's not gay and has been hitting on her. Tommy told Leo about big bad sister's earlier fragile in fight cry for help and showed him Clyde's picture. Hey, that picture, was something else...but was she naked...was she what...in the picture, Tommy showed him, was she naked? The most difficult piece of this eccentric jigsawed quilt is the wonderfully awful Witmans freshly flushed from their curbside bunker. This passel of possum players is headed-up by the up-tight, resentfully compulsive, younger sister turned care taker, Joann (Cynthia Stevenson), followed in suit by husband banker Walter (Steven Guttenborg), brat niece Brittany Lace (Emily Ann Lloyd), and ingrate nephew, Walter Jr (Zack Duhame). So, to the melody of Nat "King" Cole's "The Very Though of You" this quirky cast lends the film the unforgettable rhythm of a tap dancer on a run-away roller coaster. Despite the many ups, downs, twists, and turns it doesn't miss a beat. At the end of the day, after the birds are et, all is said and done in the wake of the show and tell, and the last dish been washed and put away, this lovely little comedy has a very small but special message. Although it maybe lasts for 10 seconds, tops...the really important things in life are those brief, seemingly insignificant, sometimes tender, and often bittersweet incidents we experience when we're with family. We always remember and cherish...the moments...and Home for the Holidays has more than a few good moments."
V. Marshall | North Fork, CA USA | 12/09/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Ahhh the holidays....that wonderful time of thankfulness, love and laughter, NOT!!! This movie will have you in stitches each and every holiday season if you suffer from that ever present disease of dysfunctional family syndrome.
Claudia Larson (Holly Hunter) is wallowing in self-pity for good reason, she was fired from her job, her daughter is about to have sex for the first time and she is traveling back home for the holidays. What more could a girl ask for, a cold? She arrives to a snowy existence and a family of little understanding. Her father Henry (Charles Durning) and her mother Adele (Anne Bancroft) are seemingly oblivious to all of the turmoil they have created and that now resides within their children. Soon the house is filled with love and lots of arguments! Gay brother Tommy Larson (Robert Downey Jr.) appears to torture the entire clan with mischief and in tow he has a co-worker/friend, Leo Fish (Dylan McDermott). And of course what family would be complete without the crazy aunt (Geraldine Chaplin) and a branch of perfection that breaks off and becomes the norm, sister Joanne (Cynthia Stevenson) and her [...] husband Walter (Steve Guttenberg). So sit back and have a toast with a perfectly normal American family for the holidays but get ready to laugh uncontrollably too!
Jodie Foster directed this film about the typical dysfunctional family during the holiday season and she brings both a sensitive understanding and a full blown sense of humor to this holiday table. Holly Hunter is really wonderful as the hopeful but often misunderstood sister in a clan of crazies. Despite his drug induced performance, Robert Downey Jr. is perfectly cast as the troubled brother with secrets to protect from a family that can't accept modern life. Dylan McDermott is the pretty boy of the film but offers much more than a cute mug in his role as the charming outsider. Charles Durning and Anne Bancroft are brilliant as clueless parents who are stuck in the roles they took upon themselves many years ago; both are unknowingly hilarious just like most parents who prefer to keep their eyes closed. Cynthia Stevenson is great as the perfectionist sister that seems to lurk about in every family and marries a nerd so that she can pretend to be happy. But the true scene stealer of this film has to be Geraldine Chaplin as crazy but oblivious Aunt Gladys, you cannot watch her performance and not fall on the floor in hysterics! Overall this is the perfect holiday movie to bring good cheer where little may truly exist.....after all if you can't laugh at yourself what is the point in holiday reunions, isn't that what brings us back home year after year? "
A modern holiday CLASSIC!
V. Marshall | 11/13/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This movie has become one of my all-time favorites. While there are many classic films celebrating Christmas, this is the film I look forward to watching at Thanksgiving each year. I discovered this film one year when I couldn't make it home for the holidays- and watched it again and again. I felt like I had indeed gone home and seen old friends. I cannot understand why some reviewers didn't love it (like Leonard Maltin, but then, when was the last time you concurred with one of his reviews? I think he's paid to praise Hollywood high budget action films). "Home for the Holidays" is a familiar and touching picture of a typical American family gathering at Thanksgiving time. The casting is wonderful and includes Holly Hunter, Robert Downey Jr , the always amazing Anne Bancroft and Dylan McDermott. The lead character, a single mother who has long-ago fled her hometown, as played by Holly Hunter is very endearing and readily identifiable, and the situations while depicted humorously, ring true. Jodie Foster did a wonderful job directing- any sentiment from this film, and it has a lot of sentimental value- comes from her wry depiction of family renunions, the inevitable bickering, and resolution at the holidays; emotion is never forced by the actors or upon the viewer. This is a great feel-good, true to life film; I think everyone who is single and under 40 should own it and enjoy it each Thanksgiving, whether you make it home for the holidays or not."
Excellent Dialogue, characters and a GREAT Brother
C. P. Gibbs | Carlsbad, CA USA | 11/30/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"What a find! I will definitely end up watching this every year. As it stands, I rented this DVD the night before Thanksgiving, and have watched at least pieces of it each night since (3 nights). You must listen closely or watch repeatedly to get the dialogue, plot and character nuances....kind of like real life, actually. Poor Claudia makes her way home for Thanksgiving to her odd, nerve-wracking and stressful family (like most people, I imagine). Her mom and dad are odd, her aunt is nuts, her sister's family is just YUCK and then....there is her brother. The whole movie really is a profile of the relationship between Claudia and her little brother Tommy...who is gay, and not expected for this holiday dinner. He shows up, with a "friend" in tow. SPOILER: What looks like an innocent "Oh, I thought I'd just show up" visit from Tommy is actually one big huge wonderful gesture of filial love. He knows she has just lost her job, has issues with her 16-year-old daughter, is NOT looking forward to going home, etc. He knows she is going nuts with fear. He knows his very presence will be a great distraction for her and for the rest of the family. He comes, even when he will have to leave before dawn the next day to make a business meeting...all because he cares about his dear sister. He is exasperating and waaaaayyy too energetic, but you just LOVE him. AND he brings a really genuinely nice man (whom everyone thinks is his new "partner." ) How very like Tommy to let everyone believe this...most of all Claudia. The friend, Leo Fish, turns out to be polite, humorous, and very, very heterosexual. Frank in his pursuit of Claudia (once she figures out which way the wind blows), he and she have a few pretty damned cute scenes together. Good for Jodi Foster that she left in the making-out-while-eating scene. Too bad if it grosses people out....it's real!!! The doorstep scene is funny, too especially her snarling remark "Sh**! I left all the CR** in the back seat!" as her brother in law opens the door. Claudia's daughter keeps repeating a private calming mantra "Watch the Fish...Remember the fish" that I found irritatingly ham-handed (hello! Leo FISH!? Duh, OK I get it!), but mostly, I think director Jodi Foster got the overall feel right. Robert Downey Jr. steals almost every film he is in, but it was a tough heist in this one: Hunter is GRAND, as is Anne Bancroft. Most reviewers did not like the Leo Fish subplot, but I liked it, and the actor did a believeable job. My family has adopted his hilarious phrase that characterizes conversations with his father: "Par Par Bogie Bogie Par Par" now means blah blah blah in my house!Please see this film, then watch it again to catch the great dialogue. I understand R. Downey Jr. ad-libbed many scenes. He is so good, so gifted, and this movie is ALMOST his. Every sister should have such a great brother."