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Plot: An uptight, conservative businesswoman accompanies her boyfriend to his eccentric and outgoing family's annual Christmas celebration and finds that she's a fish out of water in their free-spirited way of life. Runtime: 103 mins Release Date: 16 Dec 2005
Meredith Morton is not the kind of woman you would call relaxed in social settings. She gets the case of the dry-throats which can result in her trying to clear it, and any attempt to alleviate her awkwardness results in her digging an even bigger hole for herself. And to top it all, she is the fiancée of Everett Stone, and he is about to do the criminal: introduce her to his family.The Stones are the kind of family anyone would want to be a part of. Liberal minded almost to idealistic extremes, nothing is sacred with them, not the sexual escapades of youngest daughter Amy by one Brad <more>
Stevenson which mother Sybil casually makes a reference to as if this were the latest recipe for apple crumb cake , not brother Ben's fondness for pot and nudity, and certainly not Thad's gayness and interracial lover Patrick and their intentions to adopt.So why the hostility towards Meredith? Because, as Amy points out and they all come to witness, she's just wrong in more ways than one and Everett, whom they all love, is about to make a grave mistake in marrying her. Meredith lacks the warmth and spontaneity that makes for a complete human being and is a complete control freak who is as incapable of letting loose as they are incapable of being stuffed shirts. Matters get complicated when Meredith calls on her sister Julie and she reveals to be as different from Meredith as day is to night: she's the real deal. And something barely mentioned among the Stones, simmering below the surface has Sybil vehemently opposed to even the thought of Meredith becoming a part of her family.THE FAMILY STONE certainly has moments of hilarity and is being marketed as a romantic comedy, but it really has a little too much emotional gravitas to be considered as such. Maybe a dramedy should fit it better. Either/or, it's a very poignant film that manages to touch sensitive issues such as terminal disease and gay parenting without ever hammering it in. If the time frame weren't so fixed where the story lines must be solved come Christmas it is possible that it were a shade more believable, but in the tradition of Christmas movies, it's all about the magic and wonder and situations finding closure.Despite a sizable cast, there isn't a role that feels underwritten. Sarah Jessica Parker, in her first starring role since SEX AND THE CITY, plays against her girlish type and becomes Meredith Morton -- a woman too severe for her own good, too shrill for a family so lax. Diane Keaton also plays somewhat against her intellectual type and shows what a mother's anger can do when a nasty comment is made. Keaton's interaction with Craig T. Nelson is so heartfelt one could think they have been married in real life for over thirty years. Rachel MacAdams has a field day playing a character whose messiness and blunt nature clashes in every aspect with Meredith's uptightness. Claire Danes has a role reminiscent of Donna Reed -- natural, girlish, wholesome -- again a total opposite to Parker, and necessary to make Parker stand out as a sore thumb. Dermot Mulroney and Luke Wilson also find the right notes in their characters: one wanting to make something of himself and believing that marrying an anal woman will grant him that, the other a sensitive man hiding under an apparent facade of neo-hippiness.THE FAMILY STONE is a genuine, heartfelt movie that will satisfy people looking for the right holiday film and despite its political correctness manages to be nicely subversive while also reviving Christmas films from the 40s, such as MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS and THE MAN WHO CAME TO DINNER.
OK, you know what? I'm a sap, and I know I am, but I was actually really impressed with this movie. I am not the biggest Sarah Jessica Parker fan, but I love Rachel McAdams, that's the only reason I went to see this movie in the first place. This thing had me laughing my A$$ off and bawling my eyes out all at the same time!!! Although the movie was kinda predictable I guessed every single twist beforehand , it was definitely worth seeing, and I am honestly considering going back for another dose of it. It gives us a peek at a true family, as imperfect as one can possibly be not like <more>
anyone of us have perfect families anyways , and shows how they make it through the holiday from hell for more reasons than one by counting on each other, all the while trying not to kill each other along the way. I definitely recommend this movie to anyone and everyone, whether you're a sap like me, or you just need a good reality check to make you appreciate your own family and the time you have with them.
This is one of the better films I've ever seen. Top 5 on my list of all time. Easily.I'm afraid of sounding like a Fox exec or something, because I'm the first to write something, and I'm about to gush about this movie. Look up my history for some kind of legitimacy. Never has a film made me laugh so hard one second and cry so hard in the next. At several points, the film knocked the wind out of me in a funny moment and made me gasp with anguish on the next inhale. It is the perfect combination of the family comedy and character drama film. A film that could have gone indie, <more>
but instead went Hollywood enough to guarantee a larger audience will be touched by the film.I'm exhausted on the high of seeing the film and eating some great tacos tonight, so I'll try to break it down as succinctly as possible:ORDER OF BRILLIANCE starting with the most effective 1. The Structure -- The way these characters are interwoven is brilliant and seamless.2. The Characters -- The people we're made to fall in love have serious faults that, depending on the situation, are hilariously fun or sadly crippling to them.2. The Acting -- This is, by far, the best ensemble performance I've ever seen. I love CRASH, but this ensemble has more group scenes than the one-on-one scenes that dominate CRASH.3. The Casting -- That's different than the acting. The balance was brilliant. Lovely to see Diane Keaton as the obvious choice for such a character, and lovely to see Sarah Jessica Parker in a not-so- obvious role. Luke Wilson plays sort of an aloof version of his brother Owen. Rachel McAdams; after this year, she's hand down the number one under-thirty actress in Hollywood.4. The Invisible Dialogue -- I don't know if the director telegraphed it to them or what, but the reactions of the actors, timed perfectly by the editor, were as important as the words the actors brought to the table.5. The Reveal -- You learn just enough about the story behind the story to get you curious for the next reveal. Their secrets deepen the characters and the bonds with one another.6. The Cliché Twist -- This being a holiday movie, you're going to expect characters to fall in love with who they're supposed to fall in love with, but these moments' realism and heart behind them turn the potential eye-rolling moments to moments that are sweet, tender and heartbreaking.From opening scenes, I was sucked straight into falling in love with this beautiful family; immediately aware of the distinction between the quirky characters and their unique relationships with one another. It touched me on so many levels. As a filmmaker, I aim to achieve maybe 3/4 of what I saw tonight by the end of my career and the guy did it all on his second film.If you like solid movies with real characters in real stories, see this movie.ADDENDUM: I never watch trailers, until after I see the film. They inevitably ruin several key moments and revelations, if not the entire film. I recently saw the trailer, and I must say that it has ALMOST NOTHING to do with the real film. It makes it seems like a cute, cliché family film a la Meet The Parents. It is not. This may be why there's some backlash against it; it's a bit of a bait and switch, perhaps. Knowing my tastes, I would have never wanted to see this film, if I had seen the preview.
This is a sentimental and delightful holiday tale of family....but isn't that exactly what you'd expect from a holiday film? The story hold would hold up even if it weren't set in the holiday period. The story is about a large family gathering at Christmas with secrets revealed and lots of love to go around. What I liked most is how well the ensemble cast works - each character blends wonderfully and is superbly cast; each actor gets a moment to shine...the story moves forward and unfolds well with laughs and tears. Sarah Jessica Parker does a great job creating a nervous quirky <more>
character that becomes more at ease with herself - I think it's her best work I never really like Sex and the City she is funny, warm and totally inhabits the character, who evolves before our eyes. A fun film and worth seeing. The cast includes Dianne Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Dermot Mulroney, Craig T. Nelson, Luke Wilson and Claire Danes.All do great jobs to this good story.
Delightful Christmas treat for adults to escape wizards and witches (by motta80-2)
A thoroughly refreshing film. The Family Stone is most reminiscent of Jodie Foster's Home For The Holidays, Parenthood and similar family gathering over a holiday films but is far superior.What is misleading is that at the start and at various points along the way it checks off the cliché boxes with aplomb: angry difficult youngest member - check; spoilt grandchild - check; reliable oldest daughter with absent husband - check; lovable rogue brother - check; younger homosexual brother check; inter- racial relationship - check; disability - check. Yup, going in this appears to be just <more>
another formula piece. Surely, it can't be any good.And yet, it is. The performances help tremendously: Luke Wilson is the most likable he's ever been; Rachel McAdams continues to shine; Diane Keaton is on top form as usual; Sarah Jessica Parker has never matched this performance; etc, etc. However, the script is actually superbly handled. Despite the clichés the film is sweet and good-natured without being saccharine. Each character is fully formed with one notable exception and the dialogue rips along with vigour.There are many occasions when you know exactly where the film is going but that doesn't matter because its a delight to spend a couple of hours with this family. Anyone who's ever had a big family gathering whether there own or tagging along with a partner and it needn't be on the scale of this one will find something they can relate to enjoy in this intelligent holiday treat.It is, however, let down by Claire Danes character. Danes herself is fine but she has nothing to do, she serves no purpose. And worse her character is involved in a romantic subplot that never feels earned, that is thoroughly unconvincing and seems forced. It seems as if this must have been a bigger story that might have been cut down in the editing to get the time down but at about 105 minutes the film doesn't overstay its welcome and more of this story would have helped make the film a holiday classic instead of just the enjoyable holiday diversion it is.Worth watching as an escape from magic and mythical beasts this Christmas but will be best enjoyed in front of the fire with the family at future Christmases.
This story of a tense, and self-conscious young woman meeting her prospective in-laws for the first time would go on any top ten list I would ever care to create. I feel sorry for the multitude of critics who can only focus on this movie's embrace of sentiment, broad comedy, and occasionally contrived situations. But the contrivances are both necessary and acceptable in the service of larger aims, and the depictions of family tensions, especially those experienced around the holiday season, are the most painfully recognizable, yet sympathetically and humorously depicted I've ever <more>
seen. Their effect is to show us that even the most wounding family crises can also be, at heart, transformative, and in retrospect, even funny.The performances are top-notch all around, the script is superlative, and the direction is energetic and assured. The sentiment so derided by critics, I think realistically and at times, uncomfortably depicts us both at our best and at our worst, and I was often crying, laughing, and cringing at the same time -- not an easy trick. The theater was packed, and the people around me were having similar responses. You must approach this movie with a willingness to let go and honestly feel whatever you feel for a couple of hours. If you're looking for an intellectual chat, perhaps this movie is not for you. But if you're looking for a smart, entertaining, and honest look at family traditions and idiosyncrasies -- their downsides as well as their upsides -- and if, as I do, you adore great acting and great writing -- then you'll love this movie.
I totally agree with The Unemployed Critic that the trailers and the poster for "The Family Stone" are misleading, and ultimately an insult to the film. My husband and I are cinema addicts, but the trailers convinced us that we could live without another silly and predictable "clash of family cultures" movie. Fortunately the good-to-glowing reviews in American and Australian papers encouraged us to at least give the film a chance. We were rewarded with great writing and acting, lots of laughs and some tears. "The Family Stone" was my favourite of the many <more>
movies we saw over the Holidays -- but we almost missed out on it, due to bad Marketing.
Kudos goes to the entire cast of this amazingly sweet, but darkly twisted movie about family relationships and the holidays. Every person in the cast makes this worth seeing, but extra hollers go to Sarah Jessica Parker for NOT being Carrie Bradshaw and to Rachel McAdams, who once again, plays a convincing mean girl. Not only are the relationships believable a bit smarmy at times, but nothing overly nauseating , the unraveling of the story that happens makes this not just about the holidays but about relationships, family and life. Btw, can we PLEASE make sure Craig T. Nelson shows up in <more>
more movies? He and Diane Keaton were amazingly believable and I just adore this teddy bear of a man!!
Having seen the previews on a number of occasions I went to see this film because I was in the mood for a comedy. I guess the preview were all of the funny scenes. However, this turned out to be one of the most touching and sensitive movies I have seen in quite some time. The family stone could be almost anyones family and especially mine. The funny scenes were truly that, funny and very believable, one liners you wish you had said. The acting was first rate, I most enjoyed Diane Keaton and Craig Nelson. The movie moves along well with no dead time and while it is predicable in its storyline <more>
with no big surprises it is a very enjoyable way to spend a couple of hours. You get your moneys worth.