Thanksgiving Films: 10 Films to See This Holiday Weekend


As you prep your turkey and bake some pumpkin pie, GIFF has got you covered on what to see in theaters while the family is still in town. Our Programming Team has 10 film recommendations for this weekend, including something the whole family can enjoy.


Director: Denis Villeneuve

Starring: Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker

We were lucky enough to host an advance screening of this film earlier this month, and we agree with most critics when we say this is a must-see. Arrival is the thinking man’s sci-fi film- not surprising since it comes from the same director that brought us Prisoners and Sicario. While the film tries to answer the question “Why Are They Here?”, the path to the answer is both unexpected and thrilling. We hope that Amy Adams gets some award season attention for her subtle, captivating performance.


Director: Kelly Fremon Craig

Starring: Hailee Steinfeld, Woody Harrelson, Kyra Sedgwick

Kelly Fremon Craig takes her turn behind the camera after working as a screenwriter for many years. This coming-of-age film starring Hailee Steinfeld looks good enough to peak our interest, but what gets us running to the theater is Woody Harrelson in the film trailer. Critics are calling it this generation’s next “John Hughes” movie.


Director: David Yates

Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Ezra Miller, Jon Voight, Colin Farrell

David Yates is back at the helm of a J.K. Rowling screenplay. If that doesn’t get you excited, add Eddie Redmayne, Ezra Miller, Jon Voight and Colin Farrell to the mix. This film is the perfect cure to our 5 year Harry Potter film drought, and we are so excited that there are more on the way. Wingardium leviosa!


Director: Garth Davis

Starring: Dev Patel, Rooney Mara, David Wenham, Nicole Kidman

We are excited to see Dev Patel in a starring role again, and Rooney Mara is always a pleasure to see on the big screen. This film will definitely require some tissues, but with an all-star cast and touching plot about a boy searching for his way home, we are not surprised that this film won several audience awards at film festivals this fall.


Director: Jeff Nichols

Starring: Joel Edgerton, Ruth Negga, Nick Kroll, Michael Shannon

Jeff Nichols, the director behind Take Shelter and Midnight Special, is back with this incredible story about the landmark U.S. Supreme Court civil rights case Loving v. Virginia. Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga star as Mildred and Richard Loving, who fought for the right to be married in the state of Virginia. Nick Kroll, who made an appearance at #GIFF2016 for his role in My Blind Brother, takes a dramatic turn as the Loving’s lawyer. We are so excited to see this incredible story on the big screen.


Director: Kenneth Lonergan

Starring: Casey Affleck, Michelle Williams, Kyle Chandler

This film premiered at Sundance Film Festival back in January and ever since then critics can not stop talking about this incredibly heart-wrenching story. We would expected nothing less from Casey Affleck and Michelle Williams, so we plan on bringing the whole box of tissues to see this film in theaters.


Director: Ron Clements, John Musker

Starring: Auli’i Cravalho, Dwayne Johnson, Rachel House

Ron Clements and John Musker have directed The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Hercules and The Princess and the Frog over the past 20 years. They are back with their new film and we could not be more excited! Add Lin-Manuel Miranda to the mix (the creator of “Hamilton: An American Musical”) and this is a film the entire family can enjoy this holiday weekend!


Director: Barry Jenkins

Starring: Trevante Rhodes, Andre Holland, Janelle Monae, Ashton Sanders, Naomie Harris, Mahershala Ali

Moonlight is the captivating second feature by director Barry Jenkins. It tells the tender and heartbreaking three-part story of a young boy struggling to find himself while coming to terms with his sexuality. Jenkins weaves a poetic indie drama that touches on race, gender, and sexuality in ways not seen in cinema before. Moonlight is an urgent social document that will challenge and push you to think in different ways and is not to be missed!


Director: Tom Ford

Starring: Amy Adams, Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Shannon, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Isla Fisher, Armie Hammer, Laura Linney, Michael Sheen

After making a big splash in Hollywood with his directorial debut, A Single Man, Tom Ford is back with his second film, Nocturnal Animals.  From what we’ve heard, this film is just as stylish as Tom Ford’s debut as director. Amy Adams is really making her mark this award season with whispers of nominations for this AND Arrival. In Nocturnal Animals, she takes a turn as an art gallery owner haunted by her ex-husband’s latest novel.


Director: Warren Beatty

Starring: Warren Beatty, Annette Bening, Matthew Broderick, Lily Collins, Alden Ehrenreich, Alec Baldwin, Ed Harris, Oliver Platt, Martin Sheen

Only Warren Beatty could pull together a cast like this. After 15 years, he is back and does not disappoint with his take on the Hollywood icon Howard Hughes. As the writer, director, producer, and star of the film, we are excited to see his passion project on the big screen. Award season voters always have a soft spot for films about Hollywood, so we expect to hear a lot more about Rules Don’t Apply in the coming months.

About the author

Lindsey Hascher has spent her whole life in Fairfield County. After spending 8 years at Convent of the Sacred Heart on King Street, Greenwich has been her home away from home. She is currently a senior at Quinnipiac University studying Mass Communications with a minor in Computer Science and Digital Media. After volunteering for the inaugural festival in 2015, she wanted to get more involved with the year-long process surrounding the festival. In her spare time, she works part-time at SoulCycle Greenwich and tries to see as many films as possible.

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