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Movies For Thanksgiving that will Make you Grateful for Your Family

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Ah, Thanksgiving. Family gatherings can be tough at any time of year but Thanksgiving especially heightens the tension. Even if you’re close to your family and wouldn’t describe yourself as dysfunctional, there is such a thing as too much togetherness, amiright? At Christmas, you at least have the distraction of gifts. At Thanksgiving? No such luck. Here’s a list of movies for Thanksgiving about families that are (probably) more dysfunctional than yours. If things get a little too tense or if you’re opting out this year and staying home, stream some of these and you can feel better about your own family dynamics. But if instead, you find yourself wishing you could be more like some of these families? Run. Run like the wind and never look back.

movies for thanksgiving

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This Is Where I Leave You

What happens when your father dies and your entire family is forced to return home and spend days upon days together? If you’re like the Altman family, a bunch of messed up stuff and issues past and present will rear their ugly heads.

The Royal Tenenbaums

This movie pretty much defines “dysfunctional family”. Fake cancer, former child prodigies, and questionable relationships make up this quirky dramedy about a family in disarray trying to find its way again.

Rachel Getting Married

No dysfunctional family movie round-up would be complete without at least one tale of a black sheep returned home. Rachel Getting Married earned Anne Hathaway an Oscar nod for her role of an addict who returns home for her sister’s wedding. Dark, but still funny and worth checking out.

The Family Stone

That awkward moment when you bring the person you want to marry home and you realize your entire family hates her. Sometimes, your family really does know better than you do.


The themes in 1989’s Parenthood still ring true today. The struggle is real when you’re trying to find a way to connect with your kids. It doesn’t matter whether or not they’re children or grown adults. Sometimes you still question whether you’re up to the task of parenting.

Little Miss Sunshine

There are moments in history that cause you to remember exactly where you were when they happened. Do you remember where you were when we finally laid eyes on the dance that little Olive had so secretly been practicing with her grandfather? This is a movie about a family road trip from hell to get Olive to a beauty pageant. But that dance. Damn.

Mommie Dearest

We’ve all had those moments when we’ve secretly thought our mothers were the worst. Whatever particular quirk they have is the worst, or whatever criticism they pass along is the worst. What if your mother actually WAS the worst though? This classic based on the book by Joan Crawford’s adopted daughter should make you appreciate your mother a little more. Wire hanger, anyone?

Meet the Parents

Here’s another flick about facing the future in-laws and having the worst possible scenario become reality. Ben Stiller and Robert De Niro face off in this movie about how tough it is to win over Daddy when you want to marry Daddy’s little girl. More so when Daddy is ex-CIA and has an odd fascination with cats.

August: Osage County

Nothing brings a family together like a crisis, right? Julia Roberts and Meryl Streep head up this movie about one of the most dysfunctional movie families ever. Meryl Streep’s character is at the center of a web of drug addiction, family secrets and lies. She makes Joan Crawford look like mother of the year in comparison.

Home for the Holidays

This is one of only two actual “Thanksgiving” movies on my list. This is the quintessential Thanksgiving movie about how tough it is to not only go home again but to be a grown child in your parents home. Your real life never seemed so far away.

The House of Yes

Every family reenacts the assassination of JFK during the holidays, right? No? Well, then this cult classic from the late 90’s should definitely make you feel better about your family then.

Garden State

Zach Braff starred, directed and wrote this movie about a son returning home for his mother’s funeral which proves that not all family dysfunction involves mothers and daughters. Fathers and sons can have their fair share of issues too.

How many among us have sat at the Thanksgiving dinner table, praying that time will miraculously speed up so we can make our escape? One can only take so much advice from well-meaning relatives about the direction of our lives. There is a limit to how long one should have to tolerate obnoxious step-siblings and their offspring. If you feel like your only way out is to hide in your childhood bedroom, think again! The power of the internet is with you no matter where you are. Stream one of these movies and let yourself be distracted from the real-life drama that might be unfolding around you.

And if you’re hosting turkey day this year at your house and need some help with the preparations, check out my post on creating a schedule that will get you through the day with ease. And wine. Never forget the wine.


Sharon and Alex

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3 thoughts on “Movies For Thanksgiving that will Make you Grateful for Your Family”

  1. You missed Death at a Funeral the American version starring Chris Rock. There is hilarious appearance from Danny Glover, Kevin Hart and Peter Dingl for GOT Z who starred in British version. LOL

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