There seem to be two types of holiday family dramas: the kind that move you with an inspiring poignancy (think Meet Me in St. Louis or It's a Wonderful Life), and the kind that make you think, Well, at least my family isn't that bad (think Home Alone or Home for the Holidays). The Family Stone is definitely one of the latter category.
At the outset we see Meredith (Sarah Jessica Parker) and Everett (Dermot Mulroney) heading to his family's house for Christmas. She's the nervous girlfriend meeting the family for the first time, he assures her they'll love him. Oh, the poor naïve souls. Have they never been to a cinematic family holiday gathering before?
Before they arrive at the magnificent Tudor house that will serve as dysfunction junction over the next week, we meet the rest of the Stones. There's Mom, Sybil (Diane Keaton), who's both universally accepting and outspokenly caustic. Dad, Kelly (Craig T. Nelson), is the long-suffering peacemaker of the family. Pregnant daughter, Susannah (Elizabeth Reaser)—who has a world-wise ten-year-old daughter, Elizabeth (Savannah Stehlin), in tow—appears to be the most normal one in the family (read: she's the most unexplored character). The rest of the large, bustling brood seem to come straight out of the Stereotyped Family Handbook. There's Amy (Rachel McAdams), the snarky single daughter complete with her frumpy clothes and NPR tote bag. Ben (Luke Wilson) is the slacker son who's unshaven and mismatched and whose inappropriate antics are laughed off by the rest of the family. Thad (Tyrone Giordano) is the gay son, who also sports the family disability—he's deaf. His partner, Patrick (Brian J. White), is African American, and they're trying to adopt a baby together. ...1
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The Family Stone
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