Plot Summary


"Home for Thanksgiving" is a heartwarming and comedic exploration of a family reuniting for the holiday. The film opens with Laura (Anna Kendrick), a successful but overworked corporate lawyer, navigating a bustling New York City. She’s preparing for the annual Thanksgiving trip to her hometown, a small, picturesque village where her family gathers every year at Grandma Edith's (Meryl Streep) historic farmhouse.

Laura's life in the city is shown to be fast-paced and somewhat lonely. Despite her professional success, she feels a sense of emptiness and nostalgia for her childhood home and the warmth of family gatherings. The anticipation of the Thanksgiving holiday brings a mix of excitement and anxiety, as she contemplates the inevitable family dynamics and drama.

Family Dynamics

The film then introduces Tom (Chris Evans), Laura's younger brother, a high school teacher and aspiring novelist. Tom is more laid-back and connected to their hometown, but he’s struggling with his career aspirations and the pressure to publish his book. His relationship with Laura is affectionate yet competitive, adding a layer of sibling rivalry to their interactions.

Grandma Edith is the matriarch of the family, a wise and loving figure who holds everyone together. She’s preparing for what she hopes will be the best Thanksgiving yet, despite the chaos that usually accompanies these gatherings. Her character embodies the spirit of the holiday, emphasizing love, gratitude, and togetherness.

The family also includes Jake (Jacob Tremblay), Laura and Tom’s mischievous young nephew who brings a sense of innocence and humor to the story. Maggie (Olivia Cooke), their artistic and free-spirited cousin, is struggling with her own issues, including a recent breakup and uncertainty about her future.

Uncle Frank (John Goodman) and Aunt Sue (Octavia Spencer) add to the mix with their quirky personalities. Uncle Frank, a retired firefighter, is the jovial storyteller of the family, while Aunt Sue, a nurse, brings wisdom and warmth, often serving as the mediator in family disputes.

Cousin Emma (Kiernan Shipka) is the teenage daughter of Uncle Frank and Aunt Sue, navigating the challenges of adolescence and her own identity. She looks up to Laura and Maggie, seeking guidance and support.

The Journey Home

The journey to Grandma Edith’s house is filled with humorous and touching moments. Laura’s drive from the city is interrupted by traffic jams, misplaced directions, and a hilarious encounter with a stubborn turkey she accidentally hits and decides to rescue, adding to the chaos of her trip.

Tom, on the other hand, faces a series of mishaps with his old, unreliable car, leading to a comedic series of events that highlight his resourcefulness and determination to make it home on time.

Maggie decides to hitchhike her way home, seeking adventure and distraction from her recent breakup. Her journey is filled with quirky encounters and introspective moments, as she reflects on her life choices and what truly matters to her.

Arrival and Preparation

As the family members arrive at Grandma Edith’s farmhouse, the story delves into the preparations for the big Thanksgiving feast. The farmhouse, with its cozy and nostalgic ambiance, serves as a character in itself, representing tradition, warmth, and the essence of home.

The preparation scenes are filled with laughter, minor disasters, and heartfelt conversations. Laura and Tom’s sibling rivalry comes to the forefront as they argue over the best way to make the stuffing and who gets to carve the turkey. Their banter is both comedic and endearing, showcasing their deep bond despite their differences.

Grandma Edith oversees the preparations with a mix of authority and humor, delegating tasks and sharing stories from past Thanksgivings. Her wisdom and love for her family shine through, reminding everyone of the true meaning of the holiday.

Family Drama and Revelations

As with any family gathering, old tensions and unresolved issues begin to surface. Laura’s high-powered career becomes a point of contention, with some family members admiring her success while others feel she’s lost touch with what’s truly important. Tom’s struggle with his novel and his sense of inadequacy compared to Laura add to the sibling dynamics.

Maggie’s recent breakup and her uncertainty about her future lead to emotional conversations with Laura and Grandma Edith. These discussions are both poignant and reflective, as Maggie seeks guidance and reassurance from her family.

Jake’s mischievous antics provide comic relief, as he devises a plan to trap a “Thanksgiving ghost” he believes haunts the farmhouse. His innocent perspective and adventurous spirit remind the family of the joy and wonder of childhood.

Uncle Frank and Aunt Sue bring their own dynamics to the table. Frank’s larger-than-life personality and Sue’s nurturing nature add depth and humor to the family interactions. Their playful bickering and deep love for each other offer a model of a long-lasting, loving relationship.

Cousin Emma’s teenage struggles are explored through her interactions with Laura and Maggie. She looks up to them and seeks advice on navigating the challenges of growing up and finding her own path.

The Thanksgiving Feast

The climax of the film is the Thanksgiving feast, a beautifully chaotic scene where all the preparations come together. The table is laden with traditional dishes, each representing the family’s heritage and memories. The feast is a visual and sensory celebration of the holiday, capturing the essence of togetherness and gratitude.

As the family gathers around the table, they share what they’re thankful for, leading to moments of reflection, humor, and heartfelt emotion. Laura’s expression of gratitude for her family and their unconditional support is a touching moment, highlighting her realization of what truly matters.

Tom’s toast is a mix of humor and sincerity, acknowledging his struggles and expressing his appreciation for the family’s unwavering belief in him. Grandma Edith’s speech is the emotional highlight, as she shares her wisdom and love, reminding everyone of the importance of family and tradition.

The scene is filled with laughter, tears, and a sense of unity, capturing the spirit of Thanksgiving and the bonds that hold the family together.

Resolution and Growth

Following the feast, the family engages in various activities, from playing games to reminiscing about past holidays. These moments of connection and joy underscore the film’s themes of love, gratitude, and togetherness.

Laura and Tom’s relationship reaches a new level of understanding and support. They realize that despite their differences, they share a deep bond and mutual respect. Laura’s realization about the importance of balance in her life leads her to reconsider her priorities and make more time for family.

Maggie, with the support and guidance of her family, gains clarity about her future and decides to pursue her passion for art. Her journey of self-discovery and acceptance is a key subplot that resonates with the audience.

Jake’s adventure to trap the “Thanksgiving ghost” ends with a humorous twist, as he discovers the “ghost” is actually a raccoon sneaking into the house for leftovers. This subplot provides comic relief and a sense of whimsy, highlighting the innocence and creativity of childhood.

Uncle Frank and Aunt Sue’s playful interactions and deep love for each other inspire Laura and Tom, showing them the value of maintaining a sense of humor and support in relationships.

Cousin Emma, encouraged by Laura and Maggie, decides to pursue her interests and passions without fear, embracing her individuality and the support of her family.


"Home for Thanksgiving" concludes with the family gathered around the fireplace, sharing stories and laughter. The closing scenes capture the warmth and love that permeate the farmhouse, as the family reflects on the holiday and their shared experiences.

Laura, now more at peace with herself and her choices, looks forward to maintaining a better work-life balance and cherishing her time with family. Tom, inspired by the holiday and his family’s support, commits to finishing his novel and pursuing his dreams with renewed determination.

Maggie, with a clearer sense of direction, plans to embark on new artistic endeavors, confident in her family’s support and her own abilities. Jake, still brimming with curiosity and imagination, continues to bring joy and laughter to the family.

Uncle Frank and Aunt Sue’s enduring love and playful banter serve as a reminder of the importance of humor and resilience in relationships. Cousin Emma, emboldened by her family’s encouragement, looks forward to exploring her passions and interests.

Grandma Edith, the heart and soul of the family, watches with pride and contentment, knowing that her legacy of love, gratitude, and togetherness will continue to guide her family for generations to come.

Themes and Motifs

"Home for Thanksgiving" explores several themes that resonate deeply with audiences:

- **Family and Togetherness:** The film emphasizes the importance of family bonds and the joy of coming together to celebrate shared traditions.

- **Gratitude:** The narrative highlights the significance of expressing gratitude and appreciating the blessings in one’s life.

- **Self-Discovery and Growth:** Characters undergo personal growth and self-discovery, inspired by their interactions and the support of their family.

- **Love and Support:** The story underscores the value of unconditional love and support in navigating life’s challenges and uncertainties.

- **Tradition:** The film celebrates the importance of traditions and the sense of continuity and connection they provide.