The Family Stone (2005)
November 27, 2018 12:18 PM - Subscribe

An uptight, conservative businesswoman [Sarah Jessica Parker] accompanies her boyfriend [Dermot Mulroney] to his eccentric and outgoing family's [Rachel McAdams, Craig T. Nelson, Diane Keaton, Luke Wilson, Elizabeth Reaser, Tyrone Giordano] annual Christmas celebration and finds that she's a fish out of water in their free-spirited way of life. Turning to her sister[Claire Danes] for support, hijinks, recriminations and emotional catharsis ensue. Written and directed by Thomas Bezucha

52/63 on RottenTomatoes, 3 stars an 15+ on Common Sense Media,
Roger Ebert, 3 stars
"The Family Stone" is silly at times, leaning toward the screwball tradition of everyone racing around the house at the same time in a panic fueled by serial misunderstandings. There is also a thoughtful side, involving the long and loving marriage of Sybil and Kelly. Diane Keaton and Craig T. Nelson create touching characters in the middle of comic chaos. They have a scene together as true and intimate in its way as a scene involving a long-married couple can be. It doesn't involve a lot of dialogue, and doesn't need to, because it obviously draws on a lot of history.

There is an emerging genre of movies about family reunions at holiday time. It seems to be a truth universally acknowledged that most reunions at Christmas end happily, while most reunions at Thanksgiving end sadly. That's odd, because the way things shake down in the world of fragmented families, we tend to spend Thanksgiving with those we choose, and Christmas with those we must. If those two lists are identical in your life, your holidays must all be joyous, or all not.
Everything I need to know, I learned from 'The Family Stone'
EW debates 'The Family Stone': The best Christmas movie, or the worst? - "The Family Stone is one of those Christmas movies viewers either love or hate, mostly because it’s just about impossible to sort of like Diane Keaton or sort of dislike Sarah Jessica Parker.Stone is also known for forcing audiences to confront difficult questions, including “Which Wilson brother do I prefer?” and “How do I feel about Dermot Mulroney’s cry face?”"

The culture clash between a high-strung New Yorker and her boyfriend's free-spirited kin yields a smart, tart but mildly undercooked Christmas pudding in "The Family Stone."

The Hunt For The Worst Movie Of All Time
But every moment of the movie is basically like that. You’re either being hit over the head with some MEANING, or some SUBTEXT is being slipped into your egg nog. The worst. And as thrilled as I’m sure the casting agent was with his or herself for putting together this all-star line-up, and all of these actors are very talented, but I’m sorry, Dermot Mulroney, Luke Wilson, and Rachel McAdams aren’t all siblings from the parents of Diane Keaton and Craig T. Nelson. Same goes for the “sisters” Sarah Jessica Parker and Claire Danes. Just because you can get a famous actor to sign on for your family dramedy doesn’t mean that it makes any sense to do so. Unbelievable.
posted by the man of twists and turns (6 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
That last link (The Hunt For the Worst Movie of All Time) made me chuckle (despite its continued use of slurs), and reminded me of Lindy West's I Rewatched Love Actually and Am Here to Ruin it For All of You.

I did really like this movie the first time I saw it, but man that article makes some great points -- not the least of which is that the movie is trying to make a huge point with how 'crazy' the family is, and they're... uh, decidedly not.
posted by knownassociate at 1:29 PM on November 27, 2018

Yeah, I really didn't like this movie.

I always felt SJP's character was ripped apart pretty unfairly over the deaf/gay thing. That stuck with me, and has continued to stick with me, for years now and I haven't seen the movie once seen I saw it in the theater. And I really didn't like SJP's character.
posted by Atreides at 2:19 PM on November 27, 2018

I saw the title and thought this was going to be about Sly and the Family Stone and instead I'm confronted by White People: The Movie.

Negative one million stars.
posted by runcibleshaw at 5:56 PM on November 27, 2018 [7 favorites]

I have not seen this movie, nor am I likely to, but I'm very amused that Dermot Mulroney is the fiance, because he's also the fiance in About Schmidt, which I did see and liked very much, and likewise comes from a wacky family... only they're like wacky families in real life, in that their eccentricities aren't romanticized and so they end up making you intensely uncomfortable with general inappropriateness. (Kathy Bates and Howard Hesseman are the parents; they've been divorced for some time, but are still having the same fights that they've had for years.)
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:37 AM on November 28, 2018

Also, I skimmed through Lindy West's Love Actually takedown, and my favorite bit's in the comments:
[some dude who's scolding West for a bunch of unimportant shit]: If you are going to over analyse an incredibly simple film, I'd suggest something closer to your intellectual humour level, a Disney film perhaps?

posted by Halloween Jack at 6:51 AM on November 28, 2018 [4 favorites]

I watched this in horrified fascination on a plane. A horrible movie about horrible people being horrible to each other. It puts casual cruelty out into the universe and should never have been made.
posted by orrnyereg at 9:12 AM on November 28, 2018 [4 favorites]

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