A Family Thanksgiving (TV Movie 2010) Poster

(2010 TV Movie)

User Reviews

Review this title
11 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
Follows a storyline in the tradition of 17 again and Sliding Doors, still very enjoyable
inkblot113 September 2013
Claudia (Daphne Zuniga), a rising attorney, is very happy to be summoned to the office of her firm's managing lawyers. She believes she will be asked to become a partner, for, after all, she does work many hours and has won important decisions. Yet, as she soon finds out, now is not her time. Not yet. Instead, they plop still another difficult case in her lap, one they are taking from another colleague who is not making progress. So, if Claudia can bring victory to the firm, a partnership is hers. Swallowing her disappointment, she goes back to tell her staff they will be working until three on Thanksgiving Day, plenty of time for them to join their families for dinner. Also, she phones her work-at-home sister to tell her sib that, once again, she can't make it to their family celebration. When asked for good reasons, Claudia's explanation reveals that her own SISTER is getting a neighborhood group together to fight the company Claudia will be defending. Uh oh. Then, too, Claudia who picks up coffee each morning at 6, has always brushed off the smiles of a businessman named Bill (Dan Payne). Someone else has been watching Claudia, too, a mysterious woman (Faye Dunaway), who may just be the "alternate universe" fairy. She knows all and sees all. Therefore, to give Claudia a rude awakening, this woman plants Claudia in a "what if" new life. In this one, Claudia is married to Bill, having given up her career, and is the mother of two adorable children. But, wait, Claudia doesn't even know how to change a diaper or pack a lunch! Also, Bill thinks she is angry about a previous fight, but just how long can she give him the cold shoulder in the bedroom? Most importantly, she gets to know her sister's point of view about the case she could have had, and her sister may be right. Please, can't she just go back to her normal life, Claudia pleads, or does she really want to? This film is in the long tradition of such flicks as Sliding Doors and 17 Again, where one can go back in time and choose a different path to pursue. Happily, its not too much of a good thing, as the film is funny, clever, and sweet. Zuniga is a great and pretty comedian while Payne is a real find, quite handsome and appealing. The rest of the cast, including Dunaway, is nice as well. The look of the film, with its well-picked costumes, sets, and art direction, is winning as is the polished script and energetic direction. Hey, Thanksgiving is coming soon, as of this writing, but even if it weren't, this is a mood-setting movie that would aid in the true meaning of the holiday.
9 out of 11 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
It's a Wonderful Thanksgiving.
Christmas-Reviewer30 August 2016
A hard working attorney is shown how her life would be is she had a husband and kids. Claudia (Daphne Zuniga) is the successful trial attorney who graduated at the top of her class from Harvard Law School. She's working hard to become the first female partner within a high-powered firm. She believes her life is 'perfect'. Her sister asks her the day before to prepare for the family Thanksgiving a homemade apple pie. Claudia, however, is everything but the homemaker her sister is, and is annoyed by the request because she doesn't have 'time' for such things.

Meanwhile, Claudia is directed to assist a corporate client in reversing an injunction so that it can demolish a park to build an enormous development. In order to realize this, she insists her subordinate employees work on Thanksgiving Day, because the court hearing is the day after. During this process, Claudia meets Gina (Faye Dunaway), a mysterious older woman who makes it her goal to teach Claudia some moral lessons. Gina takes Claudia to an alternative world, where Claudia is a lower profile happily married minivan-driving 'soccer mom' with two children.

Claudia is perplexed by the situation she is now in, but while experiencing her new life, the way it could have been, she learns that she is missing out on a lot; despite past prejudice regarding married life, she eventually finds she's falling in love with the man to whom she is married, and she becomes accustomed to the new life she is leading. Furthermore, she grows closer to her sister. Just as she is about to settle with her new life, Gina returns to take her back. Claudia is reluctant to return to her corporate life, and thus must consider what she is most thankful for.

What I hated about this film that is shows that women are not happy until they have a husband and kids. This very stupid. I think a better story line is that she breaks with her husband and would of been shown what life she will miss out on.

The performances in this film are good. I just have a huge problem with the hidden message that "Women are only happy when they are married. That is insulting.
3 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Achieving a balanced life
HallmarkMovieBuff13 November 2010
Single, high-flying attorney Claudia (Daphne Zuniga), tops in her class at Harvard Law, is focused on one thing: her career, and making partner at her this-is-your-only-life law firm. Her drive for success has predictably made her miss countless family events, and is about to do the same with this year's Thanksgiving at her sister's (Gina Holden, playing a stay-at-home mom), when Claudia is suddenly thrust by a mysterious figure (Faye Dunaway) into an alternate reality wherein she had given up the idea of practicing law years before in favor of having a husband (Dan Payne) and two children.

If this story sounds somewhat familiar, perhaps you saw The Christmas Clause (TV 2008). The current movie takes the basic idea of the former, resets it from Christmas to Thanksgiving, and flips the situation, i.e., instead of a mom with three kids shown what her life would be like as a successful lawyer with all the material goods she could possibly desire, here the lawyer becomes the mom and is shown how much richer her life could be if she broadened her focus and looked beyond her career as the sole purpose of her life.

While both movies take a similar route to reach a common goal, this "remake" is executed much more adeptly, and while still firmly rooted in the traditional Hallmark mold and formula, "Thanksgiving" dispenses with many of the clichés which made "Christmas" merely pedestrian.

The acting here is uniformly good, but young Kennedi Clements as Claudia's alternate reality daughter, is a heart-stealer in this, her apparent movie debut.
8 out of 11 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A Family Thanksgiving is Shaping Our Priorities in Life ****
edwagreen1 December 2010
Warning: Spoilers
This is really a terrific film and in one respect, it reminded me of the great "It's A Wonderful Life." of 1946.

A career oriented woman with no time for even thinking of a family life meets up with Faye Dunaway and when she is in a car with her, she is suddenly transported to a totally new life with a husband and 2 children.

The film first deals with the hardships she faces when realizing that this is her new life, she tries desperately to provide a decent home for all concerned.

She does come to realize that her life can be balanced with both family and a career. In fact, she takes on a case, but the opposite side that she was going to take when she was the dedicated career woman.

Suddenly, she is transported back to her former life. While the premise may sound inane, this is a real film from the heart, showing that we can balance our lives.
6 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Family Man undergoes gender reassignment successfully
ccomly10 November 2010
It is a reasonable question to ask what Family Man would have been like if Nicholas Cage had played a workaholic career woman attorney instead of a male Wall Streeter. The producers of A Family Thanksgiving have answered that question. Don Cheadle has been recast as Faye Dunaway but Faye and the script make it a less entertaining part. The kids are older now while the spouse is a stranger instead of an old love. There are a couple nice twists to the Family Man plot. It is interesting to feel different emotional impact when the protagonist finding herself in various family situations is not a man as in Family Man. I was disappointed that the emotional peak of Family Man is missing due to one of the script differences--made me feel like I was watching a TV movie. Bottom line is I enjoyed it and intend to watch it again to examine more closely the emotional impact of the gender switch. But if you haven't seen either and can only see one, see Family Man.
5 out of 11 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
If you've seen one, you've seen 'em all
nicbow19781 December 2011
Gave this 5 stars simply because 5 is right in the middle...as in no better, no worse than any of the other movies in the "Hallmark Holiday" genre.

If you like the sappy, all wrapped up in a heartwarming, happy ending type movie, you'll probably like this one too. If you're not a big fan of these movies, this probably isn't going to change your view.

It follows the same basic "story" or "message" as so many others. Sure, maybe the details differ, maybe the scenario is reversed (riches to rags vs. rags to riches, a woman vs. a man etc.). But yet.... Just another holiday movie.

So, like I said in the title... If you've seen one, you've seen them all!

I will say though, the acting in this one is better than a lot of others, but again, nothing extraordinary to make you want to run out and see it.
4 out of 11 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Wrong Title?
ourworldcollides28 July 2019
Funny, I was looking for this movie but the W network/hallmark had renamed it, "it's a balancing act"!

It's a cute for TV movie as expected!!
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A Family Thanksgiving
Jo_Blo_Movie_Critic20 July 2019
8/10 - one of the absolute best Thanksgiving films
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
the living nightmare --- Possible spoiler!!!!!!
realist6614 November 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Why do they keep making these movies, this one didn't even give her one good reason to want to stay in that chaos. Plus her pleading with the crazy old bat that trapped her there, all she had to do is park the brat-mobile and walk away. I'm 44 now and I haven't seen one example that would make me consider marriage and I'm a guy, for women the nightmare is 100 times worse. What did she say, "not all women need the 2.5 kids, husband and mini-van to complete her" they don't need it and more importantly I don't know why they would want it. My nieces will never get princess gear, baby dolls, or home care toys from me, sports equipment and career training toys like erector sets.
4 out of 18 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Another life switch movie
Jackbv1239 November 2017
Warning: Spoilers
These movies, where a workaholic business person miraculously gets switch to an alternate life, seem to come out every year. I have a strike against them to start with because they always put the person in the middle of a new life without having any memory of anything in this new life. How can that experience help them in whatever way they are supposed to need help? But I guess it is supposed to be funny. I guess this movie did it as well as any of them, a la poop diapers.

The little girl was the absolute high point of this movie. She was so adorable. I'm amazed they can get a kid that age, or even looks that age, to follow directions.

Probably what influenced my dislike for this movie the most is that it made Claudia so incredibly unlikeable in the first half, that I found it hard to recover from that enough to like her in the last half. And this is another case of an instant 180 degree change in personality, which I don't buy.

***SPOILERS*** And I totally hate what the story did at the end. There had to be a better way. If I understand what she did as the corporation's representative correctly, she would be disbarred at the least and more likely sued for millions. Nice happy ending that way, but then that didn't happen in the movie.
0 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Too cliché and extreme even for Hallmark
cari_history14 January 2017
Warning: Spoilers
I am a big fan of Hallmark movies but this one was too corny and clichéd even for me. The high-powered attorney who finds out how "empty" her life really is when she is forced into an alternate reality with a hubby and kids. Instead of wearing designer shoes and living in a downtown metropolis, she magically finds joy in being a stay-at-home soccer mom that potty trains.

There was no attempt at all to balance the main character's life. In short, I felt like a teenager wrote the script and that the movie was telling viewers that either a person could be unhappy and completely career focused or blissfully happy being 100% family oriented.
0 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews

Recently Viewed