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.
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
Because of the dim lighting and indistinct camera angle, audiences frequently assume it is Susanna's daughter Elizabeth who has fallen asleep on Susanna's (Elizabeth Reaser's) lap at the beginning of the Christmas Eve montage. It is, in fact, Amy (Rachel McAdams), which prompts Kelly (Craig T. Nelson) to say, "She's nice like this, isn't she?" in response to Amy's lack of accustomed edge as she peacefully slumbers. See more »
When Meredith gives each of the Stones the framed photograph of a formerly pregnant Sybil, every one is in a somewhat plain black frame with a small white matte. Assuming that one of those frames (most likely the one gifted to Sybil and Kelly directly) was intended to be the one hanging next to the family Christmas tree in the final shot of the film, one can see that these are two totally different sized, matted, and designed fames. The one at the end is a much larger, more ornate frame with a sizeable black matte. Clearly, they could have had the picture re-framed in the ensuing year, but we can infer that each was identical during the gifting scene because of their uniform wrapping and the fact that we see more than one of them opened on screen, and all are the same. See more »
I must disagree with many of the film's critics who found this to be a pleasant and amusing view of a complicated family holiday reunion. Perhaps because of my background as a mental health professional, I found this to be a very confusing and inconsistent attempt to picture what could have been a funny family event. The writers touched so many bases that one wonders if five families could have contained the many quirks, pathologies and eccentricities found in this single unit. My overall impression was of the incredible nastiness this family displayed toward the fiancée of the eldest son, a person no one but the youngest daughter had ever met, but who became the target of hostility, primarily based on the report given by the nasty little sister. The fact that the parents were incapable of maintaining even a modicum of civility or to set the example for the children, speaks to their dysfunction rather than the humor of the situation. Yes, I realize that a terminal illness was also an issue, and yes, Keaton is a fine actress, but her character failed the test of grace--more the writer's fault than Keaton's.
I think that what would actually have happened in this situation is that either the eldest son would have upbraided his family for their boorish and cruel behavior, taken his fiancée and left(if he was really committed)telling them they could call him when they grew up; or, the fiancée, seeing that he was not really committed, would have left, herself. However, had either of these things happened, the movie would have been about 20 minutes long, too short for Roger Ebert to have waxed eloquent.
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