One of the nicest things about "Pieces of April," Peter Hedges' nervy-yet-tender directorial debut, is that it's the kind of movie best enjoyed alone. There's something intensely private about the way Katie Holmes' April, the raccoon-eyed black sheep of her disintegrating family, darts around her dark, airless Lower East Side apartment grimly struggling to prepare what may be her family's last holiday meal together. (Her sweet, sentimental boyfriend Bobby, played by Derek Luke, has disappeared on a mysterious, poignantly well-intended -- therefore doomed -- errand, leaving the hapless April to fend for herself.)
Full of quiet implosions and small-scale devastation, "Pieces of April" is the thinking person's disaster movie. And watching April race against the clock to save herself and her family from what looks like certain mutually assured destruction, as her parents and siblings reluctantly hone in on the emotional ground zero of her squalid pad, it seems only proper not to crowd her.