Making the Grades
This is not a movie for the entire family. In fact, after the first few minutes, I wondered if this was a movie that fit my column's theme of helping families find videos with values. Yet even with a generous dose of obscenities and sexual discussions, by the time Home For The Holidays was finished, I reluctantly realized that I knew some of these characters -- mainly because I have spent some of my holidays with them.
In this movie, made by Jodie Foster, Claudia Larson (Holly Hunter) is an underemployed artist who gets fired from her job at the museum where she works. It doesn't seem to matter a bit that she has entered into a personal relationship with her boss -- cutbacks demand that he get rid of her. Depressed, she heads home for Thanksgiving where she joins her parents, brother, sister, aunt, and a friend of her brother, for one of the most interesting Thanksgiving celebrations put to film.
This is a family that shows how the pressures of our society pull apart sibling and parental relationships to the point where Claudia's older sister Joanne (Cynthia Stevenson) tells her, "If I wasn't related to you and you gave me your phone number, I'd throw it away." After Claudia leaves the room, Joanne breaks into tears, wishing it somehow could be different. That's why even with the differences and misunderstandings, you somehow know that they will all be back together again at Christmas, each one hoping to find whatever love or comfort they can within their family relationships.
This film depicts recreational drug use and discusses mature sexual themes including homosexuality (Claudia's brother Tommy is gay). As mentioned, the language is rough, and there are a couple of scenes involving physical sexual relationships without nudity. But what made Home For The Holidays worth viewing for me, was the underlying current of the necessity for families to hold together, no matter what the circumstances. That's why I will continue to head home for the holidays.