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Culture > Entertainment

10 Movies With Major Thanksgiving Energy

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Brown chapter.

As the days grow shorter and the air takes on a crisp edge, there’s a magical anticipation in the atmosphere of going home for the holidays – an undeniable Thanksgiving energy that transcends the day itself.

Beyond the traditional feast and family gatherings, the spirit of gratitude permeates the air, and what better way to celebrate it than through the lens of cinema? To enhance the festive spirit of the season, I’ve compiled a list of 10 movies that radiate major Thanksgiving energy. Grab your favorite blanket, bundle up with your family, and prepare for a feast of gratitude that goes beyond the dinner table.

‘Planes, Trains and Automobiles’

Directed by John Hughes, this classic comedy takes us on a hilarious and heartwarming journey as two mismatched travelers, played by John Candy and Steve Martin, navigate their way home for Thanksgiving. Filled with mishaps, misunderstandings, and unexpected friendships, Planes, Trains and Automobiles is a reminder that the journey itself is often more important than the destination.

‘Pieces of April’

This indie gem, starring Katie Holmes, tells the story of April, a young woman determined to host her estranged family for Thanksgiving dinner. As she navigates kitchen disasters and personal challenges, the film unfolds into a touching exploration of forgiveness, reconciliation, and the power of a shared meal. Pieces of April reminds us that Thanksgiving is not just about the perfect turkey but the imperfect, beautiful moments shared with those we love.

‘The Blind Side’

Based on a true story, The Blind Side is a heartwarming tale of compassion and generosity. Sandra Bullock stars as Leigh Anne Tuohy, a woman who takes in a homeless teenager, Michael Oher, and ultimately changes his life. Set against the backdrop of a loving family and the game of football, this film embodies the spirit of Thanksgiving by emphasizing the importance of gratitude and the impact one person can have on another’s life.

‘A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving’

No Thanksgiving movie list is complete without the Peanuts gang. In this animated classic, Charlie Brown and his friends attempt to put together a Thanksgiving feast with comical results. As they learn about the true meaning of the holiday, viewers of all ages are reminded of the simple joys of friendship, gratitude, and the importance of coming together, even when things don’t go as planned.

‘Home for the Holidays’

Directed by Jodie Foster, Home for the Holidays is a heartfelt comedy-drama that follows Claudia, played by Holly Hunter, as she navigates the chaos of a Thanksgiving family reunion. With an ensemble cast that includes Robert Downey Jr., Anne Bancroft, and Charles Durning, the film explores the humor and challenges of family dynamics during the holiday season. It’s a relatable and heartwarming portrayal of the ups and downs that come with spending Thanksgiving with the people who know you best.

‘The Family Stone’

This ensemble comedy-drama, starring Sarah Jessica Parker and Diane Keaton, centers around the eclectic Stone family as they gather for the holidays. Filled with humor, heartache, and unexpected twists, The Family Stone captures the essence of a festive family reunion with all its quirks and bonds.

‘Knives Out’

Directed by Rian Johnson, Knives Out is a modern whodunit that unfolds over a dysfunctional family gathering. As a detective investigates the death of the family patriarch, secrets unravel, and the film blends sharp humor with suspense, providing a contemporary twist on the classic murder mystery.

‘The Farewell’

In The Farewell, directed by Lulu Wang, a Chinese-American family reunites under the guise of a fake wedding to stealthily say their goodbyes to their beloved matriarch. This heartfelt and humorous film explores cultural differences, family bonds, and the complexities of expressing love and gratitude.

‘Happiest Season’

This romantic holiday comedy, directed by Clea DuVall, follows a woman planning to propose to her girlfriend at her family’s annual holiday celebration. The catch? Her partner hasn’t come out to her conservative family. Happiest Season is a heartwarming and comedic exploration of acceptance, love, and the dynamics of holiday gatherings.

‘The Big Sick’

Based on a real-life love story, The Big Sick tells the tale of a stand-up comedian who forms an unlikely bond with his girlfriend’s parents during a medical crisis. Directed by Michael Showalter, the film is a humorous and touching exploration of cultural differences, love, and the unpredictable nature of life.

This Thanksgiving, let these ten movies be your cinematic companions, filling your heart with warmth, laughter, suspense, and a deep sense of gratitude. Whether you’re sharing these films with family or enjoying them as a solo movie night, they are sure to infuse your holiday season with the true essence of Thanksgiving.

Cecilia Sarantopoulos is the chapter leader and editor-in-chief of Her Campus at Brown University. She oversees the chapter's published content, social media presence, and brand deals. Beyond Her Campus, Cecilia is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Comparative Literature (focusing on English & French) and Theatre Arts. Her written work on culture and style has been featured in prestigious publications, such as Marie Claire Greece and Huffington Post Greece. Cecilia is also a classically trained ballerina and a published poet. In her free time, she stays updated with media trends and the current digital landscape, with a soft spot for all things Disney. Enjoying a warm cup of tea, engaging in water sports, and watching a classic rom-com round out her list of beloved pastimes.