Christmas gets all the love when it comes to holiday movies, but Thanksgiving deserves its own place on the shelf of dysfunctional family dramedies that are as hilarious as they are heartwarming. My family Thanksgivings have seen some roller coasters over the years– and if yours also feels like less of a Hallmark moment and more of a massacre then Home for the Holidays is for you!
Directed by Jodie Foster and released in time for Turkey Day 1995, HFTH features outstanding performances from Holly Hunter, Robert Downey Jr., Anne Bancroft, and Charles Durning. Hunter plays Claudia Larson, a single mother who loses her job just as she’s due to fly home for Thanksgiving. One mishap after another leads her to the family gathering that features her uptight sister and her husband (Steve “Mahoney” Guttenberg), her ostracized brother (Downey) his pal Leo Fish (Dylan McDermott), and Geraldine (daughter of Charlie) Chaplin as the secret-carrying, eccentric Aunt Glady.
Bancroft and Durning could have carried the film all on their own, but Foster nailed the mix for a potent holiday punch that captures all the emotion of the biggest family meal of the year. Home for the Holidays works for Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, Easter, or anytime your family leaves you crying tears of laughter… And pain.