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4.2 out of 5 stars
The Family Stone (Widescreen Edition)
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66 of 71 people found the following review helpful
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.
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62 of 69 people found the following review helpful
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!
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39 of 44 people found the following review helpful
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.
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49 of 58 people found the following review helpful
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.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on March 3, 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.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
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.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on March 15, 2010
*spoilers ahead*

Meredith is a staunch conservative who is pretty much engaged to Everett Stone, a great man with a dysfunctional family. When Meredith meets the Stone family, we see she has reason to be uptight: the majority of them are snarky and obnoxious, not to mention nauseatingly politically correct. One of the sons is deaf and gay, attached to a deaf and gay black man (sorry, can't remember all the names). Rachel McAdams plays the worst family member of all, an obnoxious and gossiping redhead with a crude personality to boot. Diane Keaton's character, the mother, appeared in previews to be sweet and easygoing, if a little too enabling. Turns out, she's not: she's just as bitchy and immature as her constantly PMS-ing red-headed daughter. The only difference is that she smiles sweetly when gossiping and verbally slashing another person to bits. An enabler, however, she is to the extreme.

Luckily, there are some more gentle members of this nightmare liberal-mania family: the father is far more grounded than his wife, brother Ben Stone is loopy but very friendly, the black son-in-law is far more patient than his anal-retentive partner, there is a very sweet dark-haired daughter (expecting her second child), and Everett, the main one who's dating the uptight Meredith, is a great down-to-earth man who actually has enough spine to tell off his family more than once when they take their snarkiness out on his girlfriend. Seriously, this kind of manliness is missing in a lot of shows and films!

I admit, I really did not buy the whole "obnoxious family is really loving and accepting" schlock, especially when you add the poor, put upon deaf gay son to boot. Once you get to know the family, however, and see them with BOTH their faults and their redeeming qualities, they become more realistic. Plus, they are NOT allowed to get away with everything. Everett, unlike several weak and enabling male "heroes", does not stand by and allow his family to get away with backbiting, nor does the film slip into a "liberals good, conservatives bad" trap, which would have been remarkably easy to do. Rather than coming out as the heroic "open-minded" family they think they are, they're actually taken to task for their actions: after they openly gang up on Meredith when she clumsily asks politically incorrect questions about the gay couple, they actually realize their mistake and go out of their way to try and apologize to her, including staying up late and worrying when she doesn't come home. Meredith herself is no doormat either: rather than being converted to easy-going liberal-ness and admitting the error of her ways, she tells off the family herself in more than one scene and never takes back her personal feelings or convictions on certain matters. The film very much impressed me with its fairness to both sides of the different characters, as well as the assertiveness given to the lead characters. Plus, it turns out there are deeper issues involved: Diane Keaton's character, the mother, is very sick and worries over what will happen to her family, which explains part of her anger and resentment. The family's vulnerable side was slowly revealed throughout the film, and the empathy and personal struggle for each character transferred the film from potential lopsided comedy to a film of deep family matters.

All in all, the film was going splendidly in every way..until the end. If you can believe it, the movie actually did a boyfriend/girlfriend swap, separating Everett and Meredith. Around the middle of the film, Meredith's sister Julie arrives, to help her out. After the initial interaction between Meredith's free-for-all happy sis and the family's adoration of her, of course, it becomes apparent Julie really has no place whatsoever in the story except to take Everett from Meredith. And who does Meredith end up with? Ben Stone, the goofy brother, of all people. Ahh..no. No, no! Everett and Julie I can almost buy, but Ben and Meredith? That match is so bad, it gives me a reaction almost as bad as the one I have when colors clash: ickk! Of all ridiculous, random things! And no, nobody steals anyone's man; Julie isn't heartless. The mis-matches happen "naturally" and everyone's satisfied at the end, after the initial mess that ensues after Meredith's PC faux pas disaster at the dinner table (after she flees is when the mis-matches begin to fall into place).

The switching of couples is what stole this movie's five-star rating for me; other than this baaad, bad move, the movie's actually pretty darn good. The Stone's are realistically revealed as a good family, who learns to accept a very different person and even ask forgiveness from her when they wrong her, while she likewise learns to adapt to and care for them. All the other conflicts resolved to my perfect satisfaction, and the ending had me almost reaching for a tissue. Be prepared for a tragic touch at the end.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on March 19, 2012
One of my all time favorite movies! It's funny, sad, romantic and when a little action packed. It has out all! Great cast too! It's a must see!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on October 23, 2007
Not sure what the other reviewers were expecting from this type of film but you had to know it would be sappy and overacted; it's a coming home for Christmas movie! I tried not to like this movie but have watched it twice since seeing it in the theater and find it entertaining. Rachel McAdams plays a great meany and there are several light moments (such as when Dad comments on how nice she is when she's asleep) that bring a chuckle. The setting is perfect; snowy college town in the country (new england, upstate?)less than perfect family trying to have a sane holiday while dealing with life's many cruelties and distractions...For me, The Family Stone is a keeper.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on April 15, 2011
I love this movie, it made me laugh and cry sometimes laugh till I cried. Wonderful cast! Would love to see a part 2!! :):)
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