Need a last minute movie to share with the family or friends this holiday season? Look no further than this list of films that can be viewed on Thanksgiving that is built to appeal to fans of all genres. Below are ten films that are guaranteed to stimulate your senses of drama, make you laugh, warm your heart, make you tear up, or just plain get you pumped during a film.
1. The Ice Storm (1997)
In a film taking place around the Thanksgiving weekend in 1973, the film follows the Hood family, who are all so deeply fractured in spirit. The film’s pivotal scenes occur during a “key party,” otherwise known as a wife-swapping party. This film was directed by Ang Lee before his big break into Hollywood, but he still was able to instill much needed subtlety into the film’s narrative and gave his actors the space to understand their characters. In many regards, thanks to Ang Lee’s directing style, The Ice Storm is a somewhat contemporary Shakespearean-style story.
2. Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
Silver Linings Playbook is perhaps one of the best comedies centered around a family, who are all dysfunctional in their own way, yet their idiosyncrasies is exactly what holds them together in a positive way. Arguably, this film is David O. Russell’s best film to date.
3. Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
Fellowship of the Ring absolutely has relevancy during this holiday because of the first film’s principle theme of bonding and oaths made. Not to mention, do we honestly need a valid excuse to justify watching Lord of the Rings?
4. The Blind Side (2010)
Nothing is more profound than an individual helping another aspire to be something. The Blind Side’s main message is to not underestimate anyone based upon their appearance or background. Sometimes all one needs is a helping or guiding hand to become something truly extraordinary.
5. Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)
Woody Allen perfected the art of presenting family dysfunction on Thanksgiving in a handful of his films, but never did he do it so effectively in Hannah and Her Sisters. The film is bookended with the Thanksgiving holiday, to which the films follows all members of Hannah’s family as they discover who they are and what they want out of life. Hannah and Her Sisters is typically claimed, by most, to be Woody Allen’s best film.
6. Scent of a Woman (1992)
Popular when first released and currently underrated, Scent of a Woman is a profound film that touches on the theme that the closest bonds come from the most unlikely of sources. The film occurs on Thanksgiving weekend when Charlie Simms (Chris O’Donnell), who is a student in need of money, takes the weekend job of caring for the blind Lieutenant Colonel Frank Slade (Al Pacino). Unbeknownst to Charlie, Frank has plans for the weekend, which is to escape to New York City and finally experience everything he hasn’t done in his life, which sets them on a journey that changes both of their worlds. Scent of a Woman is a truly special film and worth watching at least once.
7. Still Alice (2014)
The film is heartbreaking, but much of the strength of the film comes from the emotional support Alice (Julianne Moore) receives from her family when she is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease. The film is largely dependent on Moore’s performance and she does not disappoint, nor does she convey a performance that demands pity. It is a performance of strength and that is what makes Still Alice a truly remarkable film.
8. Pieces of April (2003)
This film is incredible in such a simple way. It’s a mere snapshot of of the lives of an entire family, yet it’s done so effectively that it is as if we have known this family our whole lives. The film occurs on Thanksgiving Day when the black-sheep of the family, April (Katie Holmes), realizes her oven is broken just as she is about to make the Thanksgiving dinner that is aimed to reconnect her with her family. The film is human in its simplicity, yet it somehow manages to stay with you long after the film has concluded.
9. Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987)
What do you get when you put two hilarious actors in the same movie together? The answer is, one of the funniest movies that occurs around the Thanksgiving holiday. Usually slapstick comedy veers into such farce that the viewer cannot help but laugh AT the lunacy on the screen, but that is not the scenario when watching this film. The laughs veer on slapstick, but are done in such a way that one cannot help but laugh with the film. Yet what truly sells this movie is the bond that is established between Steve Martin and John Candy’s characters throughout the film. This film is about friendship and their friendship is one of the best established ones within the comedy genre.
10. The Godfather (1972)
The Godfather is the quintessential film about family. If you haven’t yet seen the famous Francis Ford Coppola gangster film, you obviously know what you’re watching for Thanksgiving this year….and then watch The Godfather: Part II immediately afterwards.