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.
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Barbara Willis Sweete
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The Stone family unites in common cause when their favorite son brings his uptight girlfriend home for the Christmas holiday, with plans of proposing. Overwhelmed by the hostile reception, she begs her sister to join her for emotional support, triggering further complications. Written by
The photo that Meredith gives to all of the family members of a pregnant young Sybil is actually a picture of young Diane Keaton. However, Keaton has never been pregnant and the photo was edited to make her look so. See more »
When Ben is telling Meredith not to dilly dally, his shirt is outside of his pants. Then when he is talking to Everett it is tucked inside his pants. See more »
[hiding from the family why Ben receives her so emotionally when coming home]
Did you and Dad have fun getting stoned?
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The premise of "The Family Stone" sounds a little shopworn: Everett Stone brings his uptight girlfriend Meredith home for Christmas to meet his large family, who instantly dislike her. Even worse, the trailer reveals most of the plot's complications. However, this premise has been used so often because it reliably provides opportunities for comedy, drama, and insight into family dynamics. "The Family Stone" proves itself a better-than-average example of the genre because of its talented cast and reasonably intelligent script.
Sarah Jessica Parker's presence ensures that Meredith always remains sympathetic, even when we can also perfectly understand why she irritates the Stones. The various Stones-- Diane Keaton, Craig T. Nelson, Dermot Mulroney, Rachel McAdams, Luke Wilson--make the most of their roles, and, more importantly, they really do start to seem like a family, not a random collection of actors. The only actor who fails to make an impression is Claire Danes, who can't do much with the underwritten role of Meredith's sister Julie.
"The Family Stone" is not a groundbreaking movie, but it goes beyond the fish-out-of-water clichés that its plot might suggest. It finds the emotional truth, as well as the humor, in Meredith's situation. Plus, it's extremely evenhanded: all of the characters are flawed but likable, and in a climactic argument at the dinner table, both Meredith and Sibyl make valid points. Reviewers on this site have accused the movie of pushing a liberal agenda via its sympathetic portrayal of an interracial gay couple and a semi-bohemian family--and of pushing a conservative agenda via its portrayal of the Stones as hypocritical liberals who pay lip service to tolerance but are prejudiced against people like Meredith. Personally, I'm not sure if "The Family Stone" has any agenda, other than to cast good actors in a holiday comedy-drama that doesn't insult its audience's intelligence. And it succeeds pretty well at that.
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