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Pieces of April

By normajean6185 Nov 24, 2008 624 Words
Pieces of April

The dictionary definition of family is the members of one’s household, close relatives, or a social unit. Family does not always need to be of blood relation. Many times we find family in the comfort of our friends, partners, and others that surround us. In the film Pieces of April, we watch one family’s struggle to heal their fractured relationship with their daughter, while trying to overcome their own personal conflicts.

We are introduced to April Burns and her boyfriend Bobby in their New York City apartment. It is Thanksgiving morning, and April is responsible for preparing the holiday meal. At first she is defiant; however Bobby motivates her to wake up and go through with the dinner plans. The dialogue between April and Bobby begin to explain April’s relationship with her family, or the lack there of. April doesn’t have the stereotypical picture-perfect relationship with her family. She is the outcast. Portrayed as a tattooed, pierced, once drug-addicted daughter; April seems like nothing more than a distress to her family, a little piece they could easily live without. She was the first born child and refers to herself as “the first pancake”; meaning she was the bad one that gets thrown out, the one that isn’t good enough to keep. There is a sense of hostility in the dialogue between the Burns family whenever April is discussed. Her mother Joy explains that she can’t remember one good memory of April; she can only remember a problem child. April truly cares about her relationship with her family, even though she won’t admit it. She never comes out and says it, but her actions prove otherwise. After realizing her oven was not going to take part in the festivities, she explores her apartment building in search of a working appliance, and the generosity of strangers. She could have easily thrown in the towel, but the fact that she persevered and accomplished her goal says a lot about her. The viewer sees April’s true emotions for her family when she runs down to greet them in the car. She swings the door open to find an empty parking space where they had been. After realizing they had driven off, she heads into the apartment. As she climbs the stairs, she rips down the decorations she so reluctantly hung for this disaster; she collapses onto her bed and sobs. We see the caring side of this toughened girl, it is obvious she truly wanted to see her family.

April’s mother Joy is far from happy. She is a breast cancer survivor, for the time being. As the Burn’s family travels to April’s they accommodate Joy’s illness. They make frequent stops for Joy because she was sick or needed to smoke a joint in a gas station bathroom. Joy and her daughter April are more alike than they think. Both of these women are strong willed, determined, and deep down, emotional. It is Joy’s decision to go back to April’s after they drive off. She hops on a motorcycle with a stranger and is taken back to the apartment. In the end Joy and April seem to reconcile. The rest of the family joins and celebrates a happy memory together. This film really dives into the idea of family. What is a normal family? April found family not only in her blood relatives, but in the friends she met throughout that day. Life is too short to have regrets; it should be lived to the fullest. Society needs more thoughtful people, it is possible to find kindness in strangers, and you just have to go looking for them.

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