There’s something a little bit different about the movies we watch on Thanksgiving. They are deeper and more meaningful than the cheerier, festive fare that shows up around Christmas Time.
Often, these films conjure up feelings and memories we associate with our own family gatherings. With an overall emphasis on learning to be grateful for all that we have in our lives, Thanksgiving movies usually leave us with something to think about.
If you don’t have your own list, or are open to trying something new, here are a few movies to help you get into the spirit of Thanksgiving day.
Pieces of April
Highly stylized, you’ll immediately be able to tell that Pieces of April is from the early 2000s (2003, to be exact) but you’ll quickly forgive it as you watch eldest daughter, April Burns (Katie Holmes), try to make it through Thanksgiving dinner after inviting her estranged, dysfunctional family, including her mother who has been diagnosed with breast cancer.
Trains, Planes and Automobiles
It’s hard to go wrong with Steve Martin and John Candy. The comedians embark on a hilarious, heartwarming and, sometimes, infuriating journey using every imaginable mode of transportation as they make their way home for Thanksgiving. You will laugh till you cry and smile through your tears.
The Blind Side
Based on a true story, the story follows Michael Oher, a talented young man with a troubling background. After bouncing around from one foster home to another and experiencing homelessness, he finally got the break he needed. Sandra Bullock won an Oscar for her portrayal of Leigh Anne Tuohy, who, along with her husband, Sean, adopted Oher who attended the same school as their son and daughter. Oher went on to be drafted by the Baltimore Ravens and is a Super Bowl champion!
If you’re looking for a film with all the Thanksgiving fixins’, you can’t do better than Dutch. The story follows the title character (hilariously played by Modern Family‘s Ed O’Neill) after he offers to pick up his girlfriend’s 13-year-old son, Doyle, from private school. As they travel from Atlanta to Chicago, it becomes clear that Doyle blames his mother for his parents’ divorce and does everything he can to make the trip a nightmare. Poor Dutch!
The Big Chill
College friends reunite after a member of their formerly tight-knit group commits suicide. As you can imagine, the film is incredibly emotional and, thanks to an all-star cast including JoBeth Williams, Glenn Close, Kevin Kline, William Hurt, and Jeff Goldblum, the story is told masterfully.
A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving
No turkey day is complete without a viewing of A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. The classic animated has been airing annually since 1973. When Peppermint Patty invites herself over to Charlie Brown’s house for the holiday meal, she doesn’t get the feast she imagined. Instead, she (along with the viewers at home) learns some valuable lessons on gratitude.
After a day of cooking and eating, grab a warm drink, a cozy blanket and gather ’round the television to watch one of these classics. On a day known for feasting, it will be food for your soul.