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What to Netflix: Home for the Holidays

Home for the Holidays is not a feel-good holiday film. But the movie still is one of my favorite choices for post-pumpkin pie viewing on Thanksgiving Day. And the reason for that is simple: No matter how annoying, infuriating or downright dysfunctional your family may be, it's still hard to top the Larsons.

Here's an idea of what things are like for Claudia Larson (Holly Hunter), the main character of this 1995 Jodie Foster-directed film: In the movie's opening minutes, she loses her job, makes out with her soon-to-be ex-boss, and is informed that her teenage daughter plans to have sex — and that's before she gets on a plane to visit her severely screwed-up family in Baltimore. Once there, she's confronted by a whole slew of uncomfortable situations: sleeping in the room next to her chain-smoking, wig-wearing, hyper-critical mother (Anne Bancroft); being gently pushed toward a romance with her little brother's friend and business partner (Dylan McDermott); dealing with a sad-sack high school flame who's grown up into a sad-sack heater repairman who solemnly tells Claudia, "Well, merry Christmas, in case I never see you again."

What's great about Home for the Holidays is that it's neither too light nor too dark. It's wryly funny but mostly not goofy, save for a scene where a turkey goes flying into one Larson's lap. The characters are more fully drawn than in many family films: Yes, the Larsons are types, but they're not just "the gay brother" and "the quirky aunt," rather "the gay brother who takes Polaroids of his family naked" and "the quirky aunt who has 200 plants, gives away lamps, and makes necklaces out of Froot Loops." (Incidentally, Geraldine Chaplin deserves a medal for her portrayal of the latter.) And there are no deep, dark revelations or scenes that will leave you sobbing — just the slow, creeping realization that no matter how nutty your family may be, they're still the best thing you've got.


Join The Conversation
gonedelirious gonedelirious 9 years
my mom and I LOVE THIS MOVIE to death. It is a holiday tradition.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 9 years
I love this movie so much. Coming from a dysfunctional family myself, I can relate to alot of it. I dont find it depressing at all. Favorite quotes: Claudia: We don't have to like each other. We're family Tommy: Where ya been? We ate already. Adele: I'm giving thanks that we don't have to go through this for another year. Except we do, because those bastards went and put Christmas right in the middle, just to punish us.
shmuffin123 shmuffin123 9 years
Eh I watched this movie the night before Turkey Day and it kind of turned me off...I guess I prefer the feel good holiday movie, I found this one a bit depressing. I felt like Holly Hunter's character in her TNT show Saving Grace was less depressing than Clyde/Claudia in this flick. However, on Thanksgiving we watched Deck the Halls with M. Broderick, Danny Devito and Kristen Chenoweth (LOVE HER!) so cute and funny and it rid me of the depressing funk Home for the Holidays left me in.
CillaB8 CillaB8 9 years
I'm a huge movie buff, and especially at this time of year, I try to watch all the holiday movies that I love to put me in the mood for the season. This is always the first movie I watch. It's great.
melda melda 9 years
oh well sorry my very bad english .
melda melda 9 years
melda melda 9 years
I watched this movie last week when my mom is hospital and it was great even though thanksgiving is not our tradition i really liked this movie very funny sister
Linda-McP Linda-McP 9 years
Just watched this with my family and loved it. We all had forgotten just how wonderful Geraldine Chaplin is in this film. You're so right, Buzz: she really does deserve many medals for her performance. Happy Thanksgiving!
Milisa14919767 Milisa14919767 9 years
I just LOVE LOVE LOVE this movie.
miss-britt miss-britt 9 years
I LOVE this film. I got soo excited when it came on my college movie channel the other day. I'm gonna have to rent this when i go home.
Sweetpea74 Sweetpea74 9 years
I loved this movie! Haven't watched it in awhile though.
sfmastiffmom sfmastiffmom 9 years
I absolutely LOVE this film, & every time it's on the tube I take time to watch it again.
dracsbabe dracsbabe 9 years
I love this film too it's quirky so you sort of have to be a different to like it I think. :D
Mädchen Mädchen 9 years
I seem to be in the minority here, but I really love this film.
blondie829 blondie829 9 years
My family watches Meet The Parents
blondie829 blondie829 9 years
Just saw this movie on a flight...I personally didn't love it and I really wanted to!
Noodles-and-Waffles Noodles-and-Waffles 9 years
I'm expecting this in my mailbox via Netflix today . The look on Holly Hunter's face when she in the car with her parents stuck in traffic is priceless. I love this film!
LaLaLaurie06 LaLaLaurie06 9 years
My family tried watching this movie many years ago. A BIG NO. We didn't even finish it.
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