The Family Stone
Most people who know even a little bit about me understand that I am a Christmas fanatic. I'm a sucker for this time of year and nearly all that it entails - the decorations, the joyful giving, the baking of cookies, the warm and delicious foods. And there are certain movies that ring especially true for me in their portrayal of the less tangible gifts of the holiday season, like family and kindness. One such film that has come to be a true favorite over the years is The Family Stone.
I first remember watching this movie with Mike, my little sister Leanne, and our friend Evan a few years ago. I had little to no inclination to watch it then, thinking I had seen it before and been unimpressed. I either was entirely mistaken or must have fallen asleep when I truly saw it for the very first time, but I was absolutely hooked after this viewing. It's become one of those movies that I watch again and again all throughout the year, rivaling Love Actually as one of my personal modern holiday favorites.
The Family Stone is essentially a family drama set around the holidays. All the assorted siblings and their array of significant others come home to celebrate Christmas with Mom and Dad (portrayed by Diane Keaton and Craig T. Nelson) in their idyllic holiday home. Everett Stone (played by Dermot Mulroney) brings home his uptight girlfriend Meredith (Sarah Jessica Parker), a woman who is immediately subject to intense judgment from the Stone family and completely out of place in their warm, open, and chaotic family dynamic. With Rachel McAdams, Luke Wilson, Tyrone Giordano, and Elizabeth Reaser rounding out the cast of Stone siblings, this movie boasts quite an impressive roster.
Despite some of the unmasked immaturity and hostility (most of it on the part of Rachel McAdam's delightfully spiteful character Amy) running rampant among this group of siblings, I think that what makes me so endeared to this film is the portrayal of the family within. I wish all my holiday gatherings could be as chaotic and hectic but loving and cozy as this one. I want to have the type of family with traditions rich and simple, relationships open and challenging, love unconditional and tough. It makes me yearn for a huge family housed in a snug corner of snowy New England come Christmastime.
Maybe I'm making too much out of a Hollywood film, but I love the feelings that The Family Stone evokes for me. It's got a touch of jolly holiday spirit that I can indulge in all year through, but it also brings out a sense of nostalgia, comfort, and home in me like few films can. I would love to further elaborate on the plot, but I feel like there are too many little side story lines to cover and the major ones contain too many aspects I just wouldn't want to spoil. It's ultimately a heartwarming and hilarious family melodrama that just happens to be set against the backdrop of my very favorite time of year. It satisfies all of my major motion picture desires and my holiday ones too.
Does anyone else remember this movie? Mike seems to think it was a colossal failure. Even if it didn't do so well at the box office, I'd love to know that other people out there have discovered this gem of a film and enjoy watching it during the holidays year after year!
at 9:06 AM