on August 29, 2006
OK, this film was a bit misleading in its promotion. This film is NOT a comedy. It has comedic elements but the film is a drama. The film is perfect in its execution. It is far from the cheesy Christmas films of old. It harkens back to films like "Home for the Holidays" with Holly Hunter (a classic in its own right for both Hunter and Robert Downey Jr's performances). The familial angst, the liberal meeting the conservative, the desire for love, family protecting family, it's all here. Sarah Jessica Parker shines in a very different role for her. You feel her painful shyness at dinner when she is so misunderstood in her intentions that she ends up in the car crying.
Not all aspects of the film are to be applauded but the underlying story of the "family stone" which could be the ring requested from the matriarch of the family, the last name of the family of course or the matriarch herself are amazing. Very touching moment at the end, if a bit unrealistic, where they all focus on the picture given as a gift of a pregnant Diane Keaton.
Rachel McAdams is also a shining part of this truly ensemble performance. She plays the little sister with tenacity and twisted pleasure but hides a softer side under sarcasm. She is the perfect foil to Sarah Jessica Parker and I love the humor, heart and love shown throughout this wonderful film.
on April 8, 2006
I was compelled to write a review for this item after reading some of the very misleading reviews below. While this movie might not be everyones cup of tea I think it's perfect for this day and age because it addresses every kind of person you can ever have in your family. They have the gay brother, the mother with cancer, the pot smoking brother, the pregnant sister with a family, the stuffy uptight business man brother, the sarcastic sister looking for love, and of course the father just trying to hold his family together. Some of the issues they address and have in the movie are, I am sure, issues that people have every day - they just put it out there. Plus it makes you laugh, makes you cry, makes you feel uncomfortable when they talk about "sensitive issues" - but that's life! I think this movie did an absolutely fabulous job of pulling it all together and whether some people agree or not, the ending does put a smile on your face - at least it did for me. GREAT MOVIE!
on May 22, 2007
Anybody who has a family that is "different" or has had to go through hard times together will appreciate this movie. All of the reviews that spoke about this movie being "unrealistic" should really get a clue. Realistic is very relative (there are some families where the kids go nuts and murder the parents - would that have been more realistic?). I thought the family dynamics in this film were excellent and well-acted.
It is easy to see why the family Stone doesn't like the eldest son's prospective fiance, Meredith (played by SJP to a "T"), because in the beginning she is so, well, unlikeable! Its easy to believe that the family's opinion of Meredith is so heavily influenced by the youngest daughter Amy (played by my favorite actress Rachel McAdams, and anyone who has said, "who is she" should see the amazing movie "The Notebook"), who met Meredith at a prior time and didn't like her. Why? Because how many times has your sister/brother/daughter gone on about a person that they don't like and has made you dislike them? This is because you tend to side with the person, who, DUH, you've known all your life as opposed to someone you've never even met.
Some of the plot lines may have been a bit far-fetched, i.e. the brother falling for his girlfriend's sister and the girlfriend falling for her boyfriend's brother in the matter of a day. But what this really meant to illustrate, is, that a) you never know when you are going to find true love b) you shouldn't walk away from it just because it may not be the perfect timing c)life is too short to spend it with the wrong person. I thought the scene with Meredith's sister Julie (played by Claire Danes who looked beautiful in this movie) and Everett (the oldest son) where she talks about the man with the "hole in his heart" is really a foreshadowing metaphor for Everett, who is with Meredith but is obviously walking around with a big hole in his heart that needs to be filled.
Addressing the terminal illness part - if you watched the movie you know that the mother is dying of breast cancer (DUH for all the people who asked, "what kind of cancer is she even dying from anyway"). The scene that OBVIOUSLY demonstrates that is when she opens her shirt to reveal her mastectomy scar. While some people were offended by that, the fact that she is not ashamed of this disfigurement and that her husband isn't turned off by it just demonstrates the depth of their love for each other. Other reviews have remarked that well, she looked healthy, which I think is just an absurd remark. The movie didn't show her on a treadmill for God's sakes. It even shows her napping in the middle of the day. People are so over-critical. I'm sure nobody wanted to be beat over the head with overwrought scenes of the mother showing how ill she was. Plus she was trying to keep it a secret from her children.
The last scene that I'm going to get on my soapbox about is the Christmas Eve dinner scene. The one where Meredith makes the well-intentioned but cruel remark about the gay son Thad not being "normal" and being "challenged" because of his sexual orientation. People are outraged because they thought the family's reaction to her statement was too mean. And I challenge everyone who thinks that to put themselves in that family's shoes. I have a deaf mother and I am fiercely overprotective of her, even to a fault. Our culture is not friendly to people who are different - everyone knows that. Is it so hard to believe that a close-knit family like the stones would overreact when an outsider criticizes a family member? Especially one that has probably had to deal with more than his share throughout his life?
Sorry for the novel. I just get so irritated when people criticize things without truly thinking it through. This is an excellent movie and I highly recommend it.
on July 22, 2006
This sort of movie has been done to death, one would think - look at names that are listed in preceding reviews - and while Family Stone fails to provide an earthshattering new insight into the set piece, I think it's a cut above average.
For one thing, the family itself is only slightly disfunctional in its relationships among one another, a distinct relief. For example, the gay son is loved and accepted, as is his partner. There are hints that the mother may have been too clinging but, all in all, the now-adult children of Mr. and Mrs. Stone, magnificently portrayed by Diane Keaton, seem to be handling their lives with aplomb and success.
The Family Stone rolls out its disfunction when a newcomer attempts to join the family. The catalyst for this family gathering is Christmas, probably the worst of holidays for families in general because Chritmas is also the annual festival of dashed expectations, at first material and quickly psychological. A scene late in the movie, when Parker's character distributes presents, demonstrates this motif beautifully.
Our first hint that things will go badly is a scene where some members of the family mock the inniment-fiancee of the eldest son before she has even arrived with the son for a first-time visit. Then you notice that the husband of the only other child (of five) who is married has delayed his arrival until Christmas Day. Hmmmm...what does he know?
And badly things do go, usually in an over-the-top and frantic way saved only by the extraordinary acting skill and comfortable (or appropriately uncomfortable) ensemble work of the excellent cast (besides Keaton, there's Craig T. Nelson, Dermot Mulroney, Luke Wilson, Rachel McAdams, and Sarah Jessica Parker). These people take nastiness to new heights and I believe if all of us hadn't been through something similar at some point in our lives we'd insist it was unrealistic. C'mon...think a little harder, about what happened when Aunt Sally got tipsy last Thanksgiving and decided to tell your Dad what it was like being the younger, "dumber" one, all those years ago?
Parker also is particularly good, portraying a buttoned-down (but fashionable) Wall-Street yuppie, at least 150-degrees different from her flighty role and Sex and the City.
I enjoyed Family Stone more than I expected to, and it made me think about how families work (and don't work), too. A few of the plot endings at the end really do push credibility too far, but everything is not wrapped up in a ball of cotton candy, just like real life.
on February 6, 2013
My husband has seen this movie once. I have seen it probably 30 times. Why the disparity? He was so touched by the movie that he felt it was real and could easily be what happens in our life when we get old (I just don't want to spoil the movie by telling the plot, so I hope that sentence makes sense). He did not like the thought of us ending up like that. This was so well written and acted that I will never be able to watch the movie with him again.
I on the other hand watch it all year round. For the same reasons of it being well written and acted. I love the dynamics of the family and yes, it could be so many families I know. The Connecticut setting with Massachusetts liberalism and New York City hurried feeling brings a sweet balance to the table. You will laugh at much of the story and when you watch the movie with Dermot Mulroney and Sarah Jessica Parker narrating the play-by-play, you will laugh even harder at the events behind the filming.
I do not believe that it is a mistake to purchase this movie. But be prepared to react as my husband did. I could only rate this movie 3 stars to balance my 5 star opinion and my husband's 1 star opinion.
on March 2, 2011
Ordinarily when a movie has so many reviews, will not add another.
This one is an exception.
Stars--- Some of these actors are not my favorites but in this movie
they proved to be a very good ensemble, good acting.
Story--- ordinary large family interaction excellently portrayed.
Laughs, tears, misunderstandings, love and acceptance of
life events. Well played, and life like. Definitely not a comedy.
This is a movie which may creep into your favorites group. It has done so
in my case.
Do recommend it.
on December 19, 2012
We bought this as another movie to watch in the Christmas season. I remembered some real laughs and some touching moments from seeing it originally.
Upon watching it again I realized what a formula piece it is, with weak writing and abrupt mood and scene changes.
As the family was verbally beating up on Sarah Jessica Parker I actually began groaning and longing for it to be over. There
are some fun scenes but the movie is so politically correct it lacks humans, at least really likeable ones.
on January 2, 2006
I was not expecting much other than boy friend points when I took my girlfriend to see Family Stone. The previews did not do the movie justice. This was not another piece of light hearted comedic fluff.
Instead the I was treated to a serious story with moments of levity and intensity. All of which could be related to. The characters are not perfect, they all have personality flaws which makes them seem real. The plot does not entirely follow the standard format, throwing several unexpected events at you. And the store line is not taking place in a $500k house that most Americans could not afford. It is a very down to earth relateable story.
A light Drama with some laughs, about a modern day family with all of the issues facing todays individuals, and yet with all of the differences that should push these individuals apart, because they are a family they treat each other with tolerance and acceptance,(at least to each other's faces) and in the end create a strong modern loving family.
Mom has cancer, Brother is gay with perfect significant other, and trying to adopt a baby, One brother smokes a little pot, laid back likes to have fun, one is all business, a lonely sister, an expecting sister, and a new girlfriend entering the family who most of the family do not appreciate but one brother appreciates her too much.
on January 5, 2007
Couldn't have said it any better than reviewer Calvaruso, for the exact same reasons. It has a great cast overall, but it was wasted and such a shame. The Stone family is judgmental, ignorant, narrow minded and mean and we are expected to accept them as loving and a wonderful family.
Strangely, the writer tries to portray the "conservative" Meredith (Sarah Jessica Parker) as the bad guy and yet unintentionally shows the exact opposite.. She is the only sympathetic character. The plot was not the least bit believable or interesting. The dinner scene when Meredith asks a genuine question about homosexuality was so over the top and utterly ridiculous I was rolling my eyes. Anyone could plainly see what she was trying to say but I believe the movie was trying to fulfill their agenda. At times this was a propaganda piece.
The loving, nurturing Sybil was anything but. You never care about these people or believe them and their circumstances. Nothing feels real and the relationships are barely developed, rushed and forced. watch the re-runs on t.v. if you must. I would give it one star if not for SJP (Meredith) and the hunky Dermot Mulroney (Evret) : ).