Over the holiday weekend, I went to a typical NYC rooftop party. The company was comprised mostly of young lawyers and investment bankers in their mid to late twenties. When one girl complained about the Lower East Side becoming irrelevant, I was perplexed. ” Why?” (an audible Freudian slip). She explained, “Every five feet, they’re are strollers and children! It’s so obnoxious!” I have to say I was genuinely offended. At 34 and kids on the brain, I was angry. Was I ever like this at parties?! Truth is, I probably was. Cue the ashamed shoulder slump and face palm.
In Adam Newport-Berra’s debut feature, Thanksgiving, we follow two days in the life of this very age group, meandering their way through love and life during the title given holiday weekend. Alex and Amy host a family style dinner with their closest Brooklynite friends. Having just moved in together mere days beforehand, is becomes increasingly evident that each is on a very different emotional page. After a surprise proposal and the appearance of Will, Amy’s long estranged brother, the weekend turns weird. Relationships are not as they appear. Secrets threaten the lives of all involved in this odd web of deceit.
The film is written by Newport-Berra and Matthew Chastain, who pays Will. The dialogue is snappy and natural. The three main characters of Alex, Amy and Will are completely real people. Not just New Yorkers, but generationally spot on. The plot seems pretty simplistic but there is definitely more than meets the eye. Benjamin Dickinson, as Alex, nails the shared insecurities being thrown back at him from Samantha Jacober, as Amy. This is a dysfunctional, functional couple, but then again, aren’t most relationships at some point? Chastain, is an awesome foil for Dickinson. Calm, unassuming, but with the presence of serial killer teddy bear. Yup, I mean that as a compliment.
Untimately, this movie is a great example of the messed up things we do in our 20’s. The choices we make that seem to make sense in the moment, that can rear their ugly heads as times progresses. Thanksgiving is extraordinarily relatable and on the whole, a quality flick.
THANKSGIVING made its World Premiere on July 3rd as Part of Rooftop Film’s Summer Series.