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3 best (HBO) Max movies to watch for Thanksgiving

If you’re looking for something special to stream on Thanksgiving, then you should probably give thanks for Max, the streaming service formerly known as HBO Max. Because Max is one of the few streamers that has such a deep library of films that there are actually great movies about Thanksgiving that you can watch. But unlike our list of the best Netflix movies to watch for Thanksgiving, not all of our picks are suitable for a family audience.

Our first choice, Pleasantville, is probably the safest of the three movies to watch with your children. Be sure to use your discretion with the other two.

Pleasantville (1998)

Tobey Maguire and Reese Witherspoon in Pleasantville.
New Line Cinema

For the most part, Pleasantville is the only film on our list that’s suitable for family viewing. Before he went on to star in Spider-Man, Tobey Maguire headlined this film as David, with Reese Witherspoon as his sister, Jennifer. One day, the wildly different siblings find themselves transported to the world of a classic black-and-white TV sitcom, Pleasantville, where everyone thinks that they are Bud and Mary Sue, the children of George (William H. Macy) and Betty Parker (Joan Allen).

Since David was already a fan of the show, he fits right in. However, Jennifer has some very modern ideas that she introduces to the town of Pleasantville, which results in some of the residents and locations shifting from black and white to color. This brings out an uglier side of the town, as the black and white citizens turn on the colored people and the ensuing conflict threatens to tear Pleasantville apart.

Watch Pleasantville on Max.

The Ice Storm (1997)

The cast of The Ice Storm.
20th Century Studios

The Ice Storm is a well-acted and beautifully shot film by director Ang Lee that may be appropriate for teenage children, but definitely not for anyone pre-teen. The story is actually set during Thanksgiving in 1973, as two families, the Hoods and the Carvers, spend the holiday weekend together. Elena Hood (Joan Allen) and Jim Carver (Jamey Sheridan) are also unaware that their respective spouses, Ben Hood (Kevin Kline) and Janey Carver (Sigourney Weaver), are having an affair.

Some of that spirit appears to have passed on to their kids, as Wendy Hood (Wednesday‘s Christina Ricci) seems to enjoy sexually charged games with Mikey (Elijah Wood) and Sandy Carver (Adam Hann-Byrd). Meanwhile, Wendy’s brother, Paul Hood (Tobey Maguire), is also hopelessly in love with Libbets Casey (Katie Holmes), a girl who may not reciprocate his feelings. Over the course of the weekend, both the Carver and the Hood families are forced to face some uncomfortable truths about themselves. And that’s just the beginning of their trials.

Watch The Ice Storm on Max.

Krisha (2015)

The cast of Krisha.

Make sure that all of the kids are in bed before you put Krisha on. It may be one of the best Thanksgiving movies ever made, but it is definitely not for children. Director and screenwriter Trey Edward Shults also stars in the film as Trey, the son of Krisha (played by Shults’ real-life aunt, Krisha Fairchild). Years ago, Kirsha abandoned her son and her family because of her various addictions, leaving her sister, Robyn (Fairchild’s real sister and Shults’ mother, Robyn Fairchild), to raise Trey as her own.

For Thanksgiving, Krisha says that she is finally sober and she wants to cook dinner for the family to demonstrate that she’s changed. However, most of the family is not willing to give Krisha a chance, especially Trey. The pain that Krisha caused in the past and the present is just too powerful, and watching that drama play out is harrowing. Let’s just say that this is a movie that’s not going for the Disney ending.

Watch Krisha on Max.

Editors' Recommendations

Blair Marnell
Blair Marnell has been an entertainment journalist for over 15 years. His bylines have appeared in Wizard Magazine, Geek…
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