The Scariest (or Most Relatable) Thanksgiving Movie of All Time
A review of A24's film "Krisha"
November and December are typically a great time for children, as they have most days off from school to celebrate holidays during those months. Once children grow up, it’s hard to get a day off to enjoy the holidays with their families. Other than working full time, and most likely picking up holiday shifts and working overtime, scheduling time for fun is difficult.
Whether we like it or not, Thanksgiving is going to be different this year. Those memorable Thanksgiving dinners and holiday nights from our childhood do not always make it into adulthood. There is a movie that does a good job of showcasing this truth.
Summary of Krisha
Most adults can agree that Thanksgiving dinner -- with or without your family -- can be stressful and chaotic.
Krisha, an A24 film written and directed by Trey Edward Shults, is about a middle-aged woman attending a Thanksgiving dinner with her family for the first time in 10 years. This film showcases the story of how uncomfortable family gatherings can be. This drama film is very forward with addiction and how it affects families.
The movie starts with a long zoom into Krisha’s face, then the frame switches to Krisha sitting in her car, with her long dress poking out the closed car door. Viewers can tell that wherever Krisha is going, she’s idle in the car due to nervousness and anxiety. There’s a lot of pressure on Krisha to be on her best behavior and impress her family when she rejoins them. Krisha’s nervousness increases while she frantically tries to remember which house is her family’s house.
Krisha returns to her family home to cook Thanksgiving dinner as a sign that she’s well. It’s a full house, meaning Krisha has a lot of people to impress. You can tell the distinct difference in the way Krisha acts around her family versus when she is alone.
The film makes it known that Krisha has a distant relationship with every family member, including her son. You can tell by their first interaction that their relationship is not the strongest. Their bodies speak different languages. It becomes clear to the audience that Krisha is struggling with making a connection with her family and staying sober. All she can do is focus on the turkey and try her best. For what it’s worth, she can conversate with at least a few beings: her brother-in-law and all the dogs at the home.
It seems as if the turkey is taking forever to be done as Krisha gets anxious about her interactions with her family. The overthinking and drug abuse spiral out of control the more she tries to keep it together. Once the turkey is finally done, she goes to the oven to take out the large turkey. She almost makes it onto the counter but misses, dropping the turkey on the floor, getting everyone’s attention.
Her son goes into her room and finds an empty bottle of wine. He proceeds to tell the family that his mom had been drinking and abusing drugs in her guest room. Now that there is a shift in energy throughout the house, because now her family knows she’s been drinking and using again, Krisha spirals. Her family tries to keep her calm and in her room, but that doesn’t work as Krisha’s demons, drugs, and alcohol convince her to keep earning her family’s love.
Uncomfortable Thanksgivings will probably happen in all of our lifetimes. This film was based on Shutls’s own family and some family members are in the cast. I think this movie perfectly depicts different experiences during the holiday season like anxiety, stress, struggles with addiction, and not getting along with family. The holidays are stressful and everyone tries to get along, even if they have to mask their real feelings. This film does a great job of showing the perspective of an average family on the holidays.
On my Letterboxd, I rated this movie 2.5/5 stars. Although I found this film to be unique, heartbreaking, and relatable, I found it hard to follow at some times. I felt like I was dropped into a random family’s house without any background on who they were. I think that is what the director intended, but at times it was difficult to know what was going on. Overall, I think you should watch Krisha this Thanksgiving. You can watch it on Hulu with a premium subscription.