Home for the Holidays (1995)

home for the holidays poster 1995 review
7.0 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 8/10

Great cast

Average story

Movie Info

Movie Name: Home for the Holidays

Studio: Paramount Pictures

Genre(s): Drama/Comedy/Seasonal

Release Date(s): November 3, 1995

MPAA Rating: PG-13

home for the holidays holly hunter robert downey jr dylan mcdermott

Just keep walking…all the way back to the city

Claudia Larson (Holly Hunter) is out of luck.  She lost her job, kissed her boss, and her daughter (Claire Danes) has announced she intends to have sex with her boyfriend over the Thanksgiving holiday.  To top it all off, Claudia has to go home for Thanksgiving.  It means dealing with her parents (Charles Durning and Anne Bancroft), her gay brother (Robert Downey, Jr.), her aunt (Geraldine Chaplin), her perfect sister (Cynthia Stevenson), and her sister’s obnoxious husband (Steve Guttenberg).  Claudia has to deal with her mother trying to hook her up with the local repairman (David Strathaim) and the new man in her brother’s life (Dylan McDermott)…will she survive to see Christmas?

Directed by Jodie Foster, Home for the Holidays is a holiday drama-comedy.  It was released to average to positive reviews but underperformed at the box-office.

There aren’t many Thanksgiving films.  The holiday is less photogenic and explosive than Christmas and it seems like it always gets looked over (at stores especially).  It is always nice to see a holiday film like Home for the Holidays, but the movie just doesn’t quite make it over the hump.

home for the holidays thanksgiving dinner scene

We gather together for chaos!!!

Thanksgiving and dealing with family sometimes can be hard…we get it.  The movie kind of hits you over the head with it.  The events in the movie are a bit too absurd to be considered totally real, but not absurd enough to feel like a National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation type film (or even A Christmas Story).  Foster does a nice job directing it, but it feels like the script could have been boosted.

The movie has a large ensemble cast with Holly Hunter at the helm.  Hunter (especially at this time) always seemed to play a very similar character despite the genre, but she is solid.  I always feel a bit sorry for Cynthia Stevenson because she plays the same character in every movie…the shrill “perfect” sister…but like Hunter, she does it well.  Everyone in the film is kind of a cliche including Durning as the bumbling dad or Anne Bancroft as a mother who’s nerves are frayed.  This combines with a lackluster romance that seems forced with Strathaim and McDermott vying for Hunter.  Claire Danes character feels kind of shoved in there…probably after the success of My So-Called Life.

home for the holidays fight hose charles durning robert downey jr steve guttenberg

You filthy animals!!!

Visually the movie hits all the holiday tropes as well.  The weather, the family dinner, and the arguments.  The movie suffers in that it doesn’t feel that original…and that you could just stick to Planes, Trains, and Automobiles if you wanted a Thanksgiving movie.

Home for the Holidays is an uneven but an ok movie.  I can see how some people might really like it or some people could hate it.  It is better than average, but could have been great with a little more tweaking.  Foster as a director is good, but she doesn’t excel like the does as an actress…making you wonder if Home for the Holidays would have worked better with her at the lead.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

Leave A Response