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The Fitzgerald Family Christmas
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10 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Moving Christmas Film Without the Sugar Coating

Author: irishrebel98 from United States
24 December 2012

Well, you can tell from my screen name that I'm part of the Irish American tribe. All I can say is that there is a lot of truth in this film. While there is a good deal of family dysfunction being dealt with here, there is also a moving portrayal of how love can transcend hurt if you let it. Believe me, been there, done that, in the same environment that Ed Burns comes from. I know these people and this film, while maybe a little exaggerated, was very real. Definitely worth a viewing, even if your not Irish. Compared to most other Christmas films, there is not a trace of false sentimentality in this picture, but it is warm and heartfelt.

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9 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

great movie!

Author: v s from United States
5 December 2012

Loved this movie! Having grown up Irish on Long Island, in a broken family, I can vouch for its authenticity. From the kitschy plastic Christmas decorations on the front lawn to the tough slang of the brothers, it's L.I. all the way.

In the movie, the father left the family 20 years ago, and now comes back and expects to spend Christmas with his"family" again--his ex-wife and seven children--even though many want nothing to do with him.

The film has a great natural flow, and it's charming throughout. It was great to see Ed Burns again and he's picked a great ensemble for his movie.

I haven't seen many of his movies but plan to catch up.

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11 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

A Virtual Catalog of Lifetime Movie Plots!

Author: Jonny 99 from United States
27 December 2012

Edward Burns' Christmas movie deals with the sensitive issue of parental abandonment, and alcoholism, oh, and finding love in middle age, and inter-religion marriage, and finding love in advanced age, and unemployment, and unwanted pregnancies, oh, and spousal abuse, and gold- digging and learning to settle and failing businesses and problematic children, and reconciliation and a few other "B" plots. In fact, Burns' script contains so many plots that the alcoholic (or at least the one that has sought treatment for it) Fitzgerald brother returns from rehab, borrows some money from Burns' character and is quickly forgotten about. Burns' attempt to juggle enough family-themed plots to fuel a year's worth of Lifetime movies for women means that those that don't be resolved essentially get forgotten. On the positive size, the open questions give him a platform to produce sequels until we get "Fitzgerald Family Christmas XXII: We Finally Return to Burns' Character's Romance With the Nurse". In short, the attempt to cram so many sub-plots and characters into a hour and forty minute running time means none receive anywhere near the attention needed to build any suspense or character development - see "Home for the Holidays" for a much better realized version of the same idea.

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6 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

An authentic family drama that every NY Irish-American family will relate to

Author: (levineshelly) from United States
20 November 2012

What a wonderful film. The characters, the relationships, the situations are all so real. Seven adult siblings are negotiating coming together for Christmas, after having bailed on their mother's 70th birthday party the night before. The oldest brother, played by Ed Burns, tries to bring the family together but must deal with all the various conflicts and alliances that naturally occur in a large family. The plot revolves around the absent father, who abandoned the family 20 years earlier and who now wants to reunite with the family for Christmas. All very authentic and moving, without ever becoming melodramatic. Anita Gillette, the actress playing the family matriarch, is absolutely amazing. And Ed Burns is fabulous, as usual. This should be an annual Christmas movie!

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Could've been good if not for all the cliché

Author: Ayal Oren from Israel
7 July 2013

A big family is a catalog of problems, a big family at the holidays is a catalog of problems reaching its boiling point. If you've lived in a big family you know it, if you've seen one or two films about big families, you probably know it too. Here lies the failure of this nice little film. Don't get me wrong, it's fairly well acted, the director choosing a low key approach that suits the genre well, so it's not a catastrophe, in fact it might be a good pastime if you can relate. Thing is the plot is not only loaded with cliché, it's devoid of any refreshing surprise or plot twist. And it tends to solve most of the problems it's looking into in a superficial almost casual manner. An abusive husband, falling for a creepy old man, falling for a girl who's too young for you, everything solved nice and easy, like it was no more than a ploy to cover a few more minutes on screen. It's not a good feeling to end with after a film with which we're suppose to relate.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Fimmaker Burns' return to form in this indie gem and instant holiday classic

Author: ( from fairview, nj
11 December 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

THE FITZGERALD FAMILY Christmas (2012) ***1/2 Edward Burns, Connie Britton, Kerry Bishe, Heather Burns, Dara Coleman, Brian d'Arcy James, Marsha Dietlin, Noah Emmerich, Caitlin Fitzgerald, Anita Gillette, Tom Guiry, Ed Lauter, Malachy McCourt, Michael McGlone, Daniella Pineda, Nick Sandow, Johnny Solo, Joyce Van Patten. Fimmaker Burns' return to form in this indie gem and instant holiday classic - the sprawling/brawling Irish-American Fitzgerald family is in flux largely due to the dilemma of the estranged patriarch returning to the next for the forthcoming seasonal celebration with various affairs, rehabilitations and sibling rivalries in the mix as well as a matriarch far from willing to bury the hatchet (unless perhaps in her no-good ex' skull for starters). Funny, poignant and smartly written and low-key directed allowing each of the characters a few moments to shine and the genuine feeling of how the love/hate dynamic of ALL families is too-universal to a fault. Great performances particularly veterans Gillette and Lauter as the feuding parents. A wonderful indie present for filmgoers and a must see.

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7 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Been there done that.

Author: poliveri54 from Lynbrook, NY
16 December 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Tired subject. Too many holes. 1.Why did dad leave? Maybe 7 kids were too much for him. 2.Maybe mom was nuts. 3.And what's Nora's story? Shes from Boston and......? 4.And the pregnant sister? The scene where the brother goes to save her is weak. 5.Why does Ed still live with mom? Each sibling has issues. 6.What's the relationship between the old sick lady and the mother? This isn't new. I grew up almost next door to Mr. Burns, and large Irish families aren't all dysfunctional. I was sorry that the mother gave in in the end. He did manage to leave room for seven sequels.I don't think Ed needed to have seven siblings. If he reduced the number of siblings and their issues, he would have been able to add more substance to the main and dad's relationship.

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An advert against large families...

Author: Rich Wright
4 December 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

SPOILERS So, this film was partly financed by 'American Express'? How does THAT work out? Anyway, the main gist here is a VERY large family of Irish American siblings getting together for the festive period. Most have very complicated personal lives, as well as big relationship problems. Their parents have been separated for years... After their father ran off decades ago because he suddenly became a millionaire.

Now, he has terminal pancreatic cancer... And wants one last special day with his loved ones. His former wife is totally against it... And who can blame her? Their grown-up children have varying opinions... Some desperately want to see him again regardless of past sins... Others have no interest in renewing their acquaintance of such a thoughtless man, whatever the circumstances.

The question of will-they or won't-they spend the festive period as one takes place amongst a backdrop of chaos and angst. Over the course of 100 minutes, ties will be mended, started or shattered forever. There is a slight soap-operaish air seeing all these travails unfold, and the film successfully involves us in the drama. With a couple of exceptions, the performances are all on point, capturing the mood of a loving, but feuding family during a very stressful time of the year.

Of course, it all ends with a slow motion pan over a necessarily large table... With everyone together, smiling and laughing while nodding at each other, subtly forgiving of past sins. You can always rely on the Yanks to bring out the schmaltz eventually... 6/10

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Not as light-hearted as some of Burns' work, but very insightful; great testimony to the power of forgiveness

Author: Amy Adler from Toledo, Ohio
26 June 2014

Gerald Fitzgerald (Edward Burns, who also wrote, directed and produced this gem) has been the family peacemaker and caretaker for a long time. As the eldest of seven siblings, Gerry took over the role of parent when the father took off twenty years ago. Mother Rosie (Anita Gillette) was devastated and still very bitter. Although all of the kids are now adults, there has never been a family dinner that includes both natural parents. Rosie won't hear of it. So, for two decades, the Fitzgerald clan of three sons and four daughters has seen Dad on and off but always have Holiday celebrations with Rosie. Now, this year is different. Father Skip-out has terminal cancer and he wants Gerald to arrange for the whole family to be together for the Christmas meal. Gerry hoped to talk to the sibs at their mother's birthday dinner, on the 23rd. But, the brothers and sisters started canceling out. One just got out of rehab, one has an abusive husband, one is married to a Jewish man who wants his wife to spend time with HIS family and so on. However, once the kids know about their Dad's condition, they join forces to convince Mother to forgive her ex, at least for a day. Also chiming in are the family priest and a close neighbor lady. Meanwhile, Gerry has met a nice home health aide, Nora (Connie Britton) who is the first woman he has really connected to since the death of his fiancé. Will this be the season of the true spirit of Christ's love? This sharp, insightful movie has its funny moments but deals more often with very serious subjects. What else would anyone expect from the terrific writer/director Edward Burns? The cast is quite large and does fine work, including Burns himself in a pivotal role. The setting in and around Manhattan are Burns' favorites as well. Here is a flick that would set the stage for a family gathering of peace and love, even if your family is enduring quite a bit of upheaval. Isn't that what most long for at holiday times?

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Good Bones, Not-So-Great delivery

Author: mrs-farrar22
20 December 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This story had great potential, but was butchered in the way in which it was told. A father coming home for Christmas could make a great, feel-good movie, but it should be the story of the family's amazing reunion, not the story about a family's fight about whether or not he should be allowed at Christmas dinner. Maybe choose ONE character or couple to follow more closely instead of splitting it up into 7 different mini-stories, each which should have its own movie all its own. You have the central character(s) and supporting roles. This was just CHAOS; most of the kids had their own separate story lines, and none of them had complete, satisfying closure. What happened with Connie and the baby? Where's the justice for her husband? What about Gerry and Nora? Did they make it to their happily ever after?

In the beginning of the movie, all of the siblings, save Gerry, let on that they did not like or have much respect for their mother, grasping at straws to find any excuse to avoid spending her birthday with her. The reason, one sister said, was that Gerry didn't know how their mom was to the rest of them....which provided no actual explanation, and gave the appearance that very little thought was given into the movie's back story. I felt it was a weak movie with a lot of vague, suggestive lines leading you to assume (or guess at) things that have happened. Isn't the purpose of a movie to SHOW you things instead of TELL you things? Mainly, I saw a bunch of people going back and forth to each others' houses, arguing about whether or not Dad deserved to come to Christmas. The transitions were awful and there was no rhyme or reason to why they were at one place or another; it just felt like they were changing settings just to change settings.

Another thing: where was the grand apology? Where was the sweeping her (and the family) off their feet and MAKING them believe that he was truly sorry? A movie like that is supposed to make you feel GOOD about the ending. This just made me feel like the mom was grudgingly allowing him into her house, the kids had a sudden change of heart, but no real apology, healing or growing was done as a family (or by any family member individually). That's what is supposed to happen at the end of a movie like this. Don't get me wrong, I love movies that don't end traditionally, but this movie made me FEEL nothing. I was severely disappointed.

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