Thanksgiving movie reviews

Each movie listed includes: 

(1) Title (2) Rating (3) Genres (4) Starring (5) Synopsis (6) My Personal Review (7) Scoring 1-5


 Click on the pictures to pin them on Pinterest for later.

An Arthur Thanksgiving (2020)

Rated: G

Genres: Animation, Family

Synopsis: It’s a busy time for Arthur and his family as they prepare for thanksgiving while the elementary students prepare for the parade. 

Review: Other than them discussing Thanksgiving there isn’t a lot of the holiday in this movie.  It’s mostly about searching for Arthur’s dog and the dog’s adventures.  Arthur’s class float isn’t even about Thanksgiving.  It’s based on Hickory Dickory Dock.  All that aside, it’s still as good as all the Arthur specials and movies.  If your kids love Arthur, they should love this.

Scoring: 3

An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving

Rated: PG

Genres: Drama, Family

Starring: Jacqueline Bissett

Synopsis: Inspired by a short story. Isabella Caldwell is a high-society woman in late-1800's New York. When Isabella's estranged daughter Mary becomes ill and is too proud to ask her mother for assistance, Mary's daughter Tilly contacts her grandmother to plead for help. Isabella's arrival causes upheaval in many lives, but may also lead to reconciliation within the family.

Review:  I found this movie to be very slow.  I kept waiting for the moments when something would happen.  The way the movie went also made it difficult for me to feel invested in the characters.  I liked the scenery, props, and costumes of the period.

                                                         Scoring: 2

Best Thanksgiving Ever (2017)

Rated: R

Genre: Comedy

Starring: Jay Seals, David Paulus, and Heather Adair

Synopsis: When Kevin’s proposal is turned down, he accepts an invitation to Brad’s home for Thanksgiving.

Review:  If you like movies like Animal House, this is for you.  If not, avoid it.  I found it to be less than humorous.  I think it’s very juvenile and frankly, boring.  But again, it’s not my type of movie.  You may love it.

Scoring: 1

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving

Rated: NR

Genres: Animation, Comedy

Starring: N/A

Synopsis: Peppermint Patty invites herself and her friends over to Charlie Brown's for Thanksgiving, and with Linus, Snoopy, and Woodstock, he attempts to throw together a Thanksgiving dinner.

Review: Sadly, this is my least favorite of the Charlie Brown specials but it’s still an amazing classic.  It’s still a great one for kids and we watch it every year.  If you like Snoopy best this may be your favorite.

Scoring: 4

A Family Thanksgiving

Rated: G

Genres: Comedy, Drama, Family, Fantasy

Starring: Daphne Zuniga, Dan Payne, Faye Dunaway, and Pascale Hutton

Synopsis: A wealthy, successful corporate lawyer is living the high life in San Francisco with little time for anything except her lavish lifestyle until a close encounter with a bizarre mystic drops her into an alternative reality to see what her life might have been like had she made different choices.

Review: While the whole “see what could’ve been” plot is overused, it works here. The characters are interesting and I enjoyed seeing Claudia evolve and become her best self while going through the awkward stages of adapting to family life.

Scoring: 4

Free Birds

Rated: PG

Genres: Animation, Adventure, Comedy

Starring: Woody Harrelson, Owen Wilson, Amy Poehler, and George Takei

Synopsis: Two turkeys from opposite sides of the tracks must put aside their differences and team up to travel back in time to change the course of history, and get Turkeys off the Thanksgiving menu for good.

Review: The idea of time traveling turkeys sounds absurd, right?  It is and the movie is. There are occasional funny moments but overall it’s just dumb. I’d say maybe children will like it more but I’m not even sure about that.

Scoring: 1

Home For The Holidays

Rated: PG-13

Genres: Comedy, Drama, Family, Romance

Starring: Holly Hunter, Anne Bancroft, Robert Downey Jr., Dylan McDermott, Charles Durning, Steve Guttenberg, Cynthia Stevenson, and Claire Danes

Synopsis: After losing her job, making out with her soon-to-be former boss, and finding out that her daughter plans to spend Thanksgiving with her boyfriend, Claudia Larson faces spending the holiday with her family.

Review: Filled with bizarrely awkward situations, this movie is hysterical. The characters are unique, vulnerable, and still relatable. I can’t say too much without giving away spoilers but around every corner was another surprising moment. This should be an annual must see.

Scoring: 4

Jim Henson’s Turkey Hollow

Rated: PG

Genres: Adventure, Comedy, Family

Starring: Mary Steenburgen and Jay Harrington

Synopsis: The Emmerson family heads to the quaint town of Turkey Hollow to visit Aunt Cly. Tim and Annie quickly grow bored without the Internet, and soon try to track the howling hoodoo, an elusive monster the locals dismiss as a legend.

Review: I found this movie to be quite boring and really silly.  But that’s okay.  I believe this is meant for older children.  Adults who enjoy the Jim Henson characters may enjoy this.  Otherwise, stick to adult movies.

Scoring: 2

Love At The Thanksgiving Day Parade

Rated: G

Genres: Comedy, Drama, Romance

Starring: Autumn Reeser, Antonio Cupo, April Telek, and Ali Liebert

Synopsis: An eager Thanksgiving parade coordinator is shocked when a wealthy consultant is hired to analyze its finances. Faced with teaching him that the parade means so much more to her than money, she finds herself reluctantly falling for him.

Review: This is not your typical love story. There are so many layers to it. Emily wears vintage clothes because she hopes that maybe one day a piece of clothing will be one her mother, she lost, had worn, while trying to

change herself to accommodate her boyfriend. Henry, who isn’t what he seems, helps Emily find her voice and strength. A Holiday favorite of mine.

Scoring: 4

Mouse On The Mayflower

Rated: G

Genres: Animation, Adventure, Comedy

Starring: Tennessee Ernie Ford

Synopsis: The Mayflower journey as see through the experiences of a church mouse.

Review: This movie is geared for children as animated educational viewing but it has an appeal for adults, too. It teaches the story of the Mayflower and the first Thanksgiving in general terms.

Scoring: 3

The Oath (2018)

Rated: R

Genres: Comedy, Family

Starring: Ike Barinholtz, Tiffany Haddish, Nora Dunn, Chris Ellis, Jon Barinholtz, Meredith Hagner, Jay Duplass, John Cho, Max Greenfield, and Jon Lovits

Synopsis: In a politically divided America, a man struggles to make it through the Thanksgiving holiday without destroying his family.

Review: Given everything going on in America and the world today, I wasn’t sure how I would like this.  I loved it.  I handled it with just enough seriousness and just enough comedy.  It’s a little heavy but give it a shot.

Scoring: 3

Pieces of April

Rated: PG-13

Genres: Comedy, Drama, Family

Starring: Katie Homes, Oliver Platt, Patricia Clarkson, and Sean Hayes

Synopsis: A wayward daughter invites her dying mother and the rest of her estranged family to her apartment for Thanksgiving dinner.

Review: This is such a moving experience. April is the black sheep who is trying her hardest to be who her family thinks she should be as her family doesn’t have anything nice to say about her. It’s truly beautiful

and emotional with some dark moments. You’ll find yourself rooting for April’s happiness.

Scoring: 4

Planes, Trains, And Automobiles

Rated: R

Genre: Comedy

Starring: Steve Martin and John Candy

Synopsis: A man must struggle to travel home for Thanksgiving with an obnoxious slob of a shower curtain ring salesman as his only companion.

Review: This is a classic for a reason. It’s truly funny. Martin and Candy are a good duo. I enjoyed all their silly adventures as Neal tries to get away from Del and just get home and Del clings to Neal. This is fun to watch year-round as Thanksgiving is just a small part of it.

Scoring: 4

Son In Law

Rated: PG-13

Genres: Comedy, Drama, Romance

Starring: Pauly Shore, Carla Gugino, and Tiffani Thiessen

Synopsis: Having gotten a taste of college life, a drastically changed farm girl returns home for Thanksgiving break with her best friend, a flamboyant party animal who is clearly a fish out of water in a small farm town.

Review: I love this movie.  I think it’s hysterical.  It’s the typical Pauly Shore silliness if not a little tamer.  The story moves at a non-stop pace and I found every moment entertaining.

Scoring: 5

Sweet November

Rated: PG-13

Genres: Drama, Romance

Starring: Keanu Reeves and Charlize Theron

Synopsis: A workaholic executive, and an unconventional woman agree to a personal relationship for a short period. In this short period, she changes his life.

Review: I really loved this story.  It was unlike any other plot I have seen.  There are so many moving moments.  I can’t talk about the ending without spoilers but it truly makes the movie meaningful.  Have tissues handy.

Scoring: 3

The Thanksgiving House

Rated: G

Genres: Drama, Family, Romance

Starring: Emily Rose, Justin Bruening, Bruce Boxleitner, and Lindsay Wagner

Synopsis: When a Boston lawyer inherits a house in Plymouth, she has no idea she may have inherited a historical treasure. Her initial desire is to sell the house, but she discovers that her house may be located on the site of the first Thanksgiving.

Review: An interesting look at the combination of the first Thanksgiving and society today. Even though Mary and Everett are at odds, they are still likable. Seeing Everett’s love of history and passion for discovery against Mary’s logical side keeps the relationship interesting. I love the backdrop of Plymouth.

Scoring: 4

The Turkey Bowl (2019)

Rated: R

Genre: Comedy

Starring: Ryan Hansen, Matt Jones, and Kristen Hager

Synopsis: A 30-something urbanite is pulled back to his rural hometown by his high-school buddies on Thanksgiving to finish The Turkey Bowl, an epic football game against their crosstown rivals that was snowed out 15 years before.

Review: Is it a bit juvenile?  Absolutely.  It’s also really funny with well-developed characters that brought me back to my teens.  It also has moving moments and relationships.  It’s not really about Thanksgiving but it’s great.

Scoring: 4

Turkey Drop

Rated: TV-14

Genres: Comedy, Family

Starring: Cheryl Hines and Olivia Holt

Synopsis: A girl suspects she is about to get dumped by her high school sweetheart. 

Review: A turkey drop is when freshman come home from college for their first Thanksgiving and break up. The hijinks begin when she tries everything to avoid it. Anyone with a typical family will relate to all the family dynamics. I didn’t laugh out loud but I was truly entertained. 

Scoring: 3