Thanksgiving is an important day, celebrated to thank the lord for all the bounteous wonders and gifts in life. The origins of this festival go back to the early 17th century when the English settlers took refuge on Native American lands. Although there are various legends associated with this festival, the fable of Native Americans giving up their land and culture for modern amenities and a new America, is said to be one of the most important causes of the birth of this Festival. Every year, Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November to mark the end of the harvest season and to thank ancestors and the heavens for all the blessings in life. Thanksgiving traditions are incomplete without the traditional Turkey feast, family reunions, football and movies. There are various, timeless classic movies based on the concept of Thanksgiving. One such movie is 'What's Cooking', which released in 2000. Read on to know more about the synopsis of the movie and its tryst with Thanksgiving.
'What's cooking' (2000) is a comical film that revolves around five different households, coping with Thanksgiving in their own ways. A classic, Thanksgiving movie, 'What's Cooking' is written and directed keeping in mind the American perspective, and looking at four other households, through the eyes of a conventional, American family. The movie revolves around four families, one Vietnamese, one Hispanic, one African-American, and one Jewish. Each of these families come from different ethnic backgrounds and view Thanksgiving separately, incorporating their own traditions into the celebrations.
Directed by Gurinder Chadha, the story unfolds in Los Angeles' Fairfax district, where these families decide to come together to celebrate Thanksgiving, the 'traditional' way. But the tension really lies on what 'traditional' means for each one of these households, and the hilarity ensues. Each of the four families have their own problems to deal with and the film opens with Ronald (Dennis Haysbert) and his wife Audrey (Alfre Woodard) who are in the midst of entertaining their dinner guests, and play the parents of a college student who would rather be a radical activist than a professional. Amusement continues when Ronald's mother, takes a look at the thanksgiving menu and is appalled that 'macaroni and cheese' have been left out of the list - a traditional African-American favorite at any feast.
The Vietnamese family is in even more trouble with a gangster, 'wannabe' American son, a daughter who hides condoms in her wallet, and the mother using traditional 'chili paste' to garnish the turkey. Chadha comically shifts to the Jewish household where the Jewish couple played by 'Lainie Kazan' and 'Maury Chaykin' accept their daughter's lesbian partner and invite them over for Thanksgiving.
The Hispanic family will have audiences in peals of laughter when the children are at the supermarket and run into their estranged father, invite him for dinner, only to find out that the mother has invited her new-found boyfriend too! Throughout the movie, audiences can expect is some raw humor, hard-hitting punch lines and an overview of multifarious traditions, apart from reveling in the joys of Thanksgiving.
'What's Cooking' and Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving does not necessarily have to be only about turkey carving, merriment, and football. Gurinder Chadha has cleverly tried to portray the bigger picture through four different households and what the spirit of Thanksgiving is really about. In Recent years, Thanksgiving movies have usually been about families at war, resolving their issues and getting together in the end. Here, the story is about four different families, at war with their own customs and the concept of Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving is not a particular holiday, meant to be celebrated by only certain people. By the end of the movie, audiences will realize that Thanksgiving is a ubiquitous celebration and is not particularly associated with any belief or custom. The bottom line that one can learn from this movie is, that households are grateful to the heavens, no matter what, and primarily celebrates the holiday through the comical narration of four families living in America. It encapsulates not one, but four different Thanksgiving customs, surrounded by traditional dishes, culture and the Thanksgiving spirit of gratitude, family and feasting. Therefore, 'What's cooking' is a beautifully woven, gentle take on multiculturalism in Los Angeles and the power of unity during the festival of Thanksgiving.
What could be better than cozying up with family on the couch and watch a hilarious movie based on the festive occasion of Thanksgiving? This year, sit your kids and friends down and watch this movie to understand and enjoy the true essence of the festival of Thanksgiving. What's important is to get together, be merry and watch a movie that will teach us the importance of cultural diversity and family.