When the holidays come around every year, from Thanksgiving on, everyone out there has their regular stock of movies that are go to titles for the season. Perennial favorites like Home Alone, Elf, A Miracle on 34th Street, White Christmas, A Christmas Story, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and countless others are always on constant rotation at our house along with unconventional favorites like Die Hard, Lethal Weapon, 29th Street, Krampus, Black Christmas, and Batman Returns. But there are a few movies that are not nearly as well-known as these that more people should take notice of, my favorite of which just debuted on Blu-ray from Shout Factory, Jodie Foster’s Home for the Holidays.
Holly Hunter plays Claudia Larson, a woman not having a good Thanksgiving season. She loses her job, makes out with her ex-boss then finds out her daughter is spending Thanksgiving with her boyfriend, leaving her alone to visit her parent’s house in Baltimore for the holidays. Now Claudia must deal with her overbearing parents Henry and Adele (Charles Durning and Anne Bancroft), her crazy Aunt Glady (Geraldine Chaplin), her humorless and condescending sister Joanne (Cynthia Stevenson) and her mischievous gay brother Tommy (Robert Downey Jr.). With disaster after disaster Claudia wonders if her life will ever resemble normal again.
Home for the Holidays is pure joy for me every year at this time. The ensemble cast are all insanely talented actors playing their characters with a natural ease that is comforting and familiar. These feel like people I would find in my own dysfunctional family. Durning and Bancroft are absolute gold as the crazy parents and Robert Downey Jr. is priceless as Tommy with most of the great scene stealing lines, and the rest of the cast just fit in perfectly to this brilliantly written comedy gem. And Holly Hunter is just perfection as Claudia. We have all has those times in our lives when everything is going wrong and the last thing we would want to do at those times is go home for the holidays. Hunter captures that feeling expertly but also finds the humor and heart of the situation and the ultimate love for family, no matter how intolerable they are. For that familiar family feeling of holidays gone wrong, do yourself a favor and check out Home for the Holidays. Very highly recommended.