The film is set during American Thanksgiving, and follows the holiday experience of fourseparate families. The effect is not unlike Robert Altman Lite, as all four families live in thesame neighbourhood, and sometimes cross paths, though these interfamily connections remaintangential. This is a vision of melting pot LA, with our families being Latino, Vietnamese,African-American and Jewish, each re-interpreting the WASP holiday through the prism of theirown experiences.
The audio is very crisp. This is a character film, one where dialogue is paramount overspecial effects, but considerable care has been put into the sound. The music is in strongsurround, but never drowns out the dialogue. The sound effects are present front and rear as well,and while low key, are still noticeable, and give the film a full, complete feel.
The film is presented in the widescreen format, and the transfer is clear and sharp. There areno problems with image enhancement or grain. The look is a bit gritty, but this is likely an artisticchoice. The box indicates a 1.33:1 ratio, but this is fortunately not the case. What we have is1.78:1, and though I can’t help but wonder if this really was the original theatrical ratio, it’senough to get by on.
The menu is basic – no animation or sound – but it is set up to look like recipe cards. Thecommentary – by director Gurinder Chadha and her co-writer Paul Mayeda Berges – covers sometechnical aspects and does spend some time on the actors. It is, however, largely thematic,illuminating how Chadha and Berges explored their multicultural concept.
Then there is a group of short, featurette-style interviews: Chadha on Thanksgiving, the caston the film itself, Kyra Sedgwick on playing a lesbian couple with Julianna Margulies, the caston LA, the cast on food, Chadha on the characters, and the cast on Chadha. Some of the editingof the interviews could use some work – Chadha’s talk on the characters, for example, begins inthe middle of a sentence. Still, the discussions are a bit more interesting and articulate than theusual puff pieces.
Finally, there’s the trailer (home video version) and recipes for the meals produced byvarious characters.
For our American readers, this is a good bet for you Thanksgiving viewing, and one with abit more meat to it (no pun intended) than, I have to admit, I was expecting.
Special Features List
- Audio Commentary
- Cast and Crew Interviews