THE FAMILY STONE (2005)

Esprit de famille

Christopher

This movie was so much fun to watch and the best part about the movie to me was how it showed even though you might agree with people on some political views, if someone is a dick, you still despise their character. This movie is exactly like a whole lot of other family Christmas dramas out there, except, THEY ARE ALL DEMOCRATIC HIPPIES!!!! Although they all hate each other and whenever someone that is new to the family shows up they all think it’s a fun idea to shit all over them. Especially if they don’t agree with them on everything! The best characters in this movie are easily Luke Wilson who plays a stoner and just loves everyone and Claire Danes who is doesn’t really say much but is obviously easy-going and nothing like anyone else in the film.

This movie is crazy and worth checking out if you are in the Christmas spirit!

Elizabeth (spoilers!)

The Family Stone is a bad movie about a shitty family being mean to themselves and everyone around them. Let’s break it down:

– First there’s Sybil Stone (Diane Keaton) who is mean to pretty much everyone for no reason but gets away with it because she’s the matriarch. Oh, and she’s also dying of cancer. Oh, and there’s also a scene between her and Craig T. Nelson in which they make out and he grabs her post-mastectomy chest, which is uncomfortable and is one of countless points this movie tries to make about how progressive it and this family is.

– There’s Kelly Stone, played by the aforementioned Coach who really doesn’t do anything but exist.

– There’s Everett Stone (Dermot Mulroney) a comically stereotypical successful businessman who gets shit from his family for being said stereotypically successful businessman.

– There’s Amy Stone (Rachel McAdams) who is nasty to everyone around her but is clearly supposed to be a sympathetic character here with her NPR tote bag and college-student frumpiness.

– There’s Susannah Stone (Elizabeth Reaser) who’s pregnant. And that’s all there is to her character.

– There’s Ben Stone (Luke Wilson) who is one of the mysterious characters whom everyone around him thinks is a huge, lazy, stoner when in reality he’s a smart, sensitive stoner who is maybe misunderstood but maybe not because his stonerness is his only real character trait.

– Rounding out the Stones is my favorite, Thad Stone (Tyrone Giordano) who is the triple threat of the family by being gay, in an inter-racial relationship, AND deaf. His deafness also leads to one of the funniest elements (I promise), but more on that later.

For Christmas, Everett decides to bring his girlfriend Meredith (Sarah Jessica Parker) home, whom he wants to propose to and whom only Amy has met (and of course, hates). Before Everett and Meredith arrive, the family gathers around the kitchen to hear Amy bitch about Meredith, which causes everyone in the room (which is almost the whole family) to hate Meredith, too, even though they haven’t met her. How welcoming! Also, it’s important to note that Amy’s biggest complaints were that Meredith talked too much and clears her throat too much. Clearly this is worthy of hatred, at least for the Stones.

Meredith doesn’t stand a chance and the Stones let her know that pretty clearly. Meredith is annoying and I probably wouldn’t enjoy hanging out with her, but if I had a brother that was in love with her I think I would try to maybe not hate her, right? For some unknown reason, Meredith refuses to share a bed with Everett in his parents’ house even though they don’t really have room for anyone to sleep anywhere else and Everett’s parents want them to share the room. Eventually, everyone is so mean to Meredith that she decides to get a room at the local inn instead, while Everett stays behind in the Stone house. That’s right: Everett’s family is so mean to his soon-to-be fiance that she can’t even stay in their house and Everett (and his family) not only thinks that’s acceptable but also does not feel the need to join her. HOW SWEEEEEET!

Before we move along, I need to point out one of the best parts of this movie. And by best I mean one of the best examples of how stupid this movie is. So Thad is deaf, and when he first comes to the Stone house his whole family greets him and speaks to him in sign language. While Amy bitches about Meredith before she arrives, they all sign while they talk. And then . . . no more sign language. Thad is still there the whole time, of course. But the entire family just straight up drops the sign language after Thad’s been around for a couple of scenes. Why make the character deaf if you can’t keep up anything to support that? Oh, because you wanted to show how diverse this family could be, despite hating everyone who is not a Stone? Oh, okay!

So to help deal with the nightmare of staying with the Stones, Meredith invites her sister Julie (Claire Danes) to come stay, which she accepts, because I guess she has no life or family of her own? I also guess we’re supposed to just ignore the fact that Sarah Jessica Parker and Claire Danes in no way look related and also have a very noticeable 14 year age difference between them, because that’s not distracting at all or anything.

By the time Christmas actually comes: Ben is the only one hanging out with Meredith and Meredith incorrectly assumes she slept with Ben the night before and Everett is only hanging out with Claire, which no one thinks is weird even though he also forced Claire to try on the engagement ring meant for Meredith. There’s also a scene in which Meredith, Sybil, and Amy end up on the kitchen floor, laughing and covered in food, after they all vent at each other and Sybil tries to act like they haven’t all hated Meredith this whole time. Meredith also presents the Stones with their gifts: a framed photo of a young Sybil pregnant with Amy. Because Sybil is dying and all, everyone cries and finally accepts Meredith into the family.

Flash forward to the next Christmas: Meredith is with Ben, Claire is with Everett, no one seems to think that’s weird or have any issues with that, and Sybil is dead. THE END.

Making Diane Keaton die of cancer is like a last-ditch effort to make you give a shit about any of these people or this movie in general. Even if you hated everyone, it’s hard not to get choked up when the family is given the picture by Meredith, which made me so mad. I do not want to choke up at anything in this movie because it’s so manipulative and stupid. No one in this move really learns anything and the main problems seem to be solved by partner swapping and killing off the mother. This is just not a fun movie to watch. Except for laughing at the family’s lack of sign language, that was fun!

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