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What's Cooking, A Thanksgiving Movie Review

Updated on December 9, 2014

What's Cooking Offers Up A Cornucopia of Fine Thanksgiving Fair...

Families, fights and feasts...What's Cooking is a Thanksgiving movie which follows four families -- one Hispanic, one Vietnamese, one African American and one Jewish -- as they prepare for Thanksgiving Dinner each in their own way. Join them on their journey to celebrate and give thanks, even as their lives sometimes seem to be falling apart around them.On this page, find more information about What's Cooking including the movie trailer, reviews by ordinary movie viewers like you and I and reviews by movie experts. Happy Thanksgiving!

Order your copy of What's Cooking from Amazon.

"Rich and'll walk away stuffed and happy."~ The New York Times

What's Cooking Movie Trailer

What's Cooking Official Movie Description From Amazon

"At first glance, What's Cooking looks like it was dreamed up by some politically correct screenwriting committee: a series of overlapping stories that intercut among four families (one Hispanic, one Vietnamese, one African American, one Jewish) all preparing for Thanksgiving dinner. But what could be toothless and smarmy is made gripping and genuinely affecting by a mixture of observant writing, fluid direction, and a truly superb ensemble of actors, including Mercedes Ruehl, Alfre Woodard, Joan Chen, Julianna Margulies, Kyra Sedgewick, Dennis Haysbert and a host of less well known but just as capable others. The script is a marvel of orchestration: small annoyances blossom into fierce conflicts, secrets are deftly revealed and sanctimoniousness is subtly punctured. The acute but sympathetic portrait of family stress and tension is layered with quiet observations about race and class, as well as the capacity for tolerance and forgiveness. It's recently become a cliché to have characters express themselves through food (examples include Soul Food, Big Night, and Eat Drink Man Woman), but What's Cooking turns food into a witty exploration of culture as everyone prepares their turkeys in entertainingly different ways -- this is not a movie to watch on an empty stomach. Warm without false sentiment, What's Cooking is deeply enjoyable." ~ Bret Fetzer

Fast Facts About What's Cooking

  • ACTORS: Joan Chen, Julianna Margulies, Mercedes Ruehl, Victor Rivers, Douglas Spain
  • DIRECTOR: Gurinder Chadha
  • WRITERS: Gurinder Chadha, Paul Mayeda Berges
  • PRODUCER: Abe Glazer, Beau Rogers, David Forrest, David Grace, Ethan Hurt
  • RATING: PG-13
  • STUDIO: Lions Gate
  • ORIGINAL RELEASE DATE: October 27, 2000
  • DVD RELEASE DATE: June 3, 2003
  • RUN TIME: 109 minutes

My Review of What's Cooking in One Hundred Words Or Less

This is definitely a food movie as each family creates their own version of the Thanksgiving meal all the while working through their own particular struggles and joys. I really enjoyed the way it all came together at the end.Make sure you do not miss the special features where, I have read, some of the recipes from the dinners in the movie appear. (I missed them.)Finally, a recommendation I have read elsewhere, which is well worth noting and which probably holds true for all food-themed movies, do not watch this movie when you are hungry!

What's Cooking Amazon Customer Reviews

"What's Cooking is clever and enormously entertaining, as long as it doesn't happen to you. The fact that such or similar situations are likely commonplace in America's melting pot makes the film all the more reflective of a shared humanity. Kudos to Ms. Chadha for a thoroughly engaging movie equal to, if not better than, My Big Fat Greek Wedding." ~ Joseph Haschka

"I'd highly recommend filling your plate with an extra helping of this gem. The enjoyment of laughter, possible tears, and multi-ethnic traditions make this one a winner." ~ Jon Rydin

"As an Episcopal priest, I'm always on the lookout for films which offer grist for the spiritual mill. "What's Cooking" is a film which could profitably be used to open up a conversation about the angst holiday celebrations often stir up. In the midst of brokenness, how does one find joy? How do people overcome family estrangements in an atmosphere where everything is supposed to be perfect? How do people negotiate different sets of traditions in ways which honor all? If you find this film fruitful, I'd also suggest "Pieces of April," which deals with many of the same issues but in an edgier way. "What's Cooking" would be good to show to families with middle school aged children, while "Pieces of April" is more appropriate for high school and older." ~ Peter Champion

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© 2010 Treasures By Brenda

What's Cooking at your place for Thanksgiving?

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    • profile image


      10 years ago

      We are still trying to work that out...up until last year, it was always at one of our homes, but we tried eating out last year, then meeting for dessert after and it was quite nice! A lot less work, and meeting after for dessert we were able to visit easier than at a restaurant. Nice review:-)

    • MomwithAHook LM profile image

      Sara Duggan 

      10 years ago from California

      Pretty much whatever we are in the mood for. If we are by ourselves we'll just grill up some cheese sandwiches and heat up a pumpkin pie. If we will be visiting others we usually do whatever they are comfortable with.

    • tandemonimom lm profile image

      tandemonimom lm 

      10 years ago

      I cook for extended family and love it! Mostly traditional but a few new ideas.

    • BuckHawkcenter profile image


      10 years ago

      Since our Thanksgiving is usually a vegetarian free-for-all, we may just have to add this movie for the fun of it.

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 

      10 years ago from Arkansas USA

      Turkey and pumpkin pie. And the usual fixing, but those are what my kids care about! This looks like an interesting movie that I hadn't heard of until now. Thanks for the review!

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Turkey and all the trimmings -- at our daughter's home! yeah! And yes, football all day long on television!

    • hlkljgk profile image


      10 years ago from Western Mass

      looks entertaining :)


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