Comedy from the producer of 'Sideways' (2005), this is a story about an annual holiday gathering of an unconventional New England family. Before the holidays are done, relationships will unravel while new ones are formed, secrets will be revealed and the Stone family will come together through its extraordinary capacity for love.
I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this film. It seemed to be your typical light hearted, nondescript comedy but actually delivered a lot more. This follows a family at Christmas as they get to know the fiance `to be' (called Meredith) of one of the sons, even though she is stuck up and ultra conservative and they are a relaxed and liberal household. She eventually ropes her sister (played by Claire Danes) in as emotional support against the sniping of the family but her more relaxed air endears her to them much more than Meredith ever will. Parker plays the uptight fiance perfectly and the warmth and closeness from the rest of the family are what make this film better than average. Diane Keeton is excellent as the mother and Luke Wilson is good as one of the free spirit brothers. This isn't especially groundbreaking or a truly outstanding film, but it achieves what it sets out to very well and offers up an amusing and reasonably heart warming film for those times when you don't want to be overly challenged or to think too hard.
Feel free to check out my blog which can be found on my profile page.
ByprisrobTOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 31 December 2016
What a star ensemble, Sarah Jessica Parker, Claire Danes, Diane Keaton, Dermot Mulroney Luke Wilson, Rachel McAdams,Craig T Nelson, Ty Giordano, and Brian White. A large ensemble for a large family.
Christmas at the home of mom and dad. Dermatologist Mulroney shows up with his new girl, Sarah Jessica Parker. The family dislikes uptight, Jessica, and it shows. Dermot wants the family engagement ring to give toSarah, mom says no. The family falls apart with the issues not spoken. Each person seems to have their own issues. Love is not in bloom. The younger brother has eyes that seem to see into the soul, and sees Sarah for who she is. Some comedy here, but in reality it is more of a family drama. It brings to the fore all the problems and issues of families.
This film, for me, was all about the dynamics of a family. A family which clashes at times, has members which are protective of other members to the point that they keep outsiders are kept out, and also a family unit that is built on an underlying mutual love but not necessary consensus within the family. SJP plays an unusual character with an awkward presence. This awkwardness stays throughout the film, but luckily her eventual pairing with Luke Wilson works in her characters favour as his relaxed composure and attitude to life compensates for her own shortcomings. In this way, `The Family Stone' ends positively, with the family remembering the importance of family and its members as they gather yet again for another xmas the following year, but this time without the `stone' of the family; the mother. All in all an enjoyable film albeit for strange reasons. Try it for yourself; you may love it as I did :D
ByEA SolinasHALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERon 1 April 2006
No, "Family Stone" isn't about the legendary funk band. Or the legendary rock band. Maybe it would have been more fun if it had been -- even if it wouldn't exactly be a heartlukewarming Christmas picture, with the required happy (and sad) endings, and all the characters one would expect in a twenty-first-century "family" movie.
Staid yuppie Everett Stone (Dermot Mulroney) is about to pop the question to his uptight girlfriend Meredith (Sarah Jessica Parker), using the "family stone," an heirloom engagement ring. But when he takes her to visit his family for Christmas, it turns out that his sister has managed to poison the entire clan against his might-be-fiancee.
Soon abusing Meredith has become the family's new pasttime, and even Everett is starting to have second thoughts about proposing. Meredith's only confidantes are her sister (Claire Danes) and Everett's easygoing brother (Luke Wilson). Tension builds as Christmas approaches, and several surprising secrets come out...
Black comedies are always great if done right -- Wes Anderson's work is a prime example, with twisted, alienated families and the wrong words spoken at the right time. "Family Stone" aims for the same target, but misses -- it's simply too cruel and illogical to be funny or amusing. Even "Monster-In-Law" gave its cruel in-law a reason to be cruel.
Most of the humor comes from abusing Meredith, and if she were as twisted as the Stones seem to be, then it might be darkly amusing. But she seems nice, if stiff, and so there are no laughs, especially since the Stones have no reason to dislike her. They welcome Patrick, their deaf son's boyfriend, so why not Meredith? Because her hair is pinned back too tightly?
Woven in are bits of necessary family drama: pregnancy, tangled romances, cancer to throw in a bit of pathos, and characters who serve no real purpose in the script except to fill dinner table chairs. It's overwritten and overly self-conscious; it plumbs as many family cliches as it can, and then takes them over the top.
And whose idea was it to have boyfriend-stealing portrayed as okay?
What saves "Family Stone" from being another tired holiday movie? Individual performances: Diane Keaton and Rachel McAdams, despite the thinness of their characters, are a joy to watch. Parker gives a decent performance, and Wilson gives a surprisingly charming performance as Ben, with a whiff of pot and a lazy smile.
"Family Stone" suffers from an illogical storyline and a busload of cliches, but is redeemed somewhat by performances by the lead actors. Otherwise, it's not a family you want to visit.
I'm 60 years old with a short attention span. My wife often complains when watching a film that I fall asleep or go off and do something else. For some reason this film caught my attention and I enjoyed staying with it. I did laugh aloud quite often and found it a thoroughly entertaining couple of hours. I recommend it to others like myself!