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The Family Stone back to product details

Ah, family... Arrrrgggh!
written by talltale April 28, 2006 - 10:31 AM PDT
2 out of 4 members found this review helpful
The messy whole of family dynamics--not just love, anger, pride, disappointment and joy, but even traffic management in the kitchen during the holidays--gets a good workout in THE FAMILY STONE, an almost pitch-perfect look at close-knit but oddball kin and the interlopers who join them for Christmas. There is a scene midway that is likely to be a divider. In it, the Sarah Jessica Parker character drops a quiet bombshell involving gay parenting and then refuses to let it go. This is literally the only part of the film that writer/director Thomas Bezucha does not quite navigate, and I think that viewers who have been won over by the movie will have to simply accept this scene and move on, although for some it may be a deal-breaker.

Bezucha's only other movie--2000's "Big Eden"--was also a sweet, quirky charmer, but "Stone" outdoes it considerably. This guy is a whiz with ensembles; I should think most of Hollywood (and beyond) would welcome working with him. He negotiates close to flawlessly the sharp twists from laughter to tears to surprise; and perhaps his most perfect--certainly most moving--scene involves the older generation in bed.

Here, via lovely, elliptical dialog and the mere fragment of breast and scar, Diane Keaton and Craig T. Nelson leave us breathless and chastened. The entire cast comes through splendidly, with Rachel McAdams adding yet another fine--and different--performance to her many over the past several years. "The Hot Chick, "Mean Girls," "The Notebook," "Red Eye" "Wedding Crashers" and the wonderful Italian film "My Name is Tonino": Miss McAdams is racking up quite a resume!

Viewers either seem to love or hate "The Family Stone." I would consul giving it a chance before you shut down. Yes, the family appears to close in unfairly against the Parker character, who herself seems at first uptight and impossible. But real people are deeper than initial impressions. So is this lovely film.


(Average 6.11)
47 Votes
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