The Family Stone
Distributed By: 20th Century Fox
Reviewed by Justine Manzano
This year the spirit of Christmas had yet to strike me. It was December 17th, and it still hadn’t hit yet that Christmas was right around the corner. With me and my husband putting ourselves through college, we didn’t have money for gifts, so we weren’t able to exchange any. We’ve been too busy to decorate the tree! So, nothing has really brought us into the Christmas spirit this year, which makes it strange that I decided to rent a Christmas movie this week. This movie was released last Christmas and is called The Family Stone. So was my Christmas spirit saved or did I remain a Grinch? Read on to find out!
The Family Stone centers around Meredith (Sarah Jessica Parker, Sex and the City), an uptight city girl, as she goes to meet her boyfriend, Everett’s (Dermot Mulroney, My Best Friend’s Wedding), family, The Stones, for the Christmas holiday. The Stones consist of a mother, Sybil (Diane Keaton, Something’s Gotta Give), a father, Kelly (Craig T. Nelson, Coach) two sisters, Susannah (Elizabeth Reaser) and Amy (Rachel McAdams, The Notebook) and three brothers, Everett, Ben (Luke Wilson, Old School) and Thad (Tyrone Giordano) as well as a few significant others. The Stone Family is laid back. Meredith is high strung. From the start, they find it impossible to get along. Tortured by her inability to fit in and Amy’s terrible behavior, Meredith calls her sister Julie (Claire Danes, Romeo and Juliet) and asks her to join them in the hopes of somehow surviving the holidays. This only ends up causing more problems! Julie is less uptight and the family seems to get along with her better. Add that to the fact that Ben is trying to get Meredith to get her “freak flag” to fly, that Everett can’t seem to stop staring at Julie, and a sobering family secret and you’ve got quite an interesting family holiday.
This story takes a lot of different turns and involves shocking romances while taking you through a journey into an American family that is normal in its abnormal-ness. The characters are funny and the story is endearing. You can’t help but fall in love with this family. And, even though Meredith is stuffy and uptight, she is also somehow endearing and you have to root for her, even at times when you’re slapping yourself in the forehead because of something she has said. The writing is well-done, the acting is brilliant. Rachel McAdams is particularly fun to watch as, she makes sure even the so-called “bitchy” sister has layers. McAdams is, as always a fine actress. However, she is not the only standout acting performance in this film. Every single actor has his or her own beautiful moments in this movie.
The Family Stone is a bittersweet comedy with a flair for the dramatic. The ensemble is superb and the film heartwarming. An excellent movie to enjoy by the light of a Christmas tree. Merry Christmas everyone!