Director: Thomas Bezucha
Starring: Diane Keaton, Sarah Jessica Parker,
Dermot Mulroney, Claire Danes, Rachel McAdams, Luke Wilson
and Craig T. Nelson.
RunTime: 1 hr 42 mins
Released By: 20th Century Fox
Day : 29 December 2005
FAMILY STONE is a comic story about the annual holiday gathering
of a New England family, the Stones. The eldest son brings
his girlfriend home to meet his parents, brothers and sisters.
The bohemian Stones greet their visitor – a high-powered,
controlling New Yorker – with a mix of awkwardness,
confusion and hostility. Before the holiday is over, relationships
will unravel while new ones are formed, secrets will be revealed,
and the family Stone will come together through its extraordinary
capacity for love.
The Christmas season would not be complete without a family
film that revolves around yuletide. At first glance, The Family
Stone can easily be compared with the likes of Love Actually
and Meet The Parents. In actuality, the comparisons are quite
true. At times, the stories that make the tapestry appear
rushed whereas Love Actually’s stories were carefully
woven. On the other hand, the film also looks like a repackaging
of Meet The Parents minus the madcap antics.
film starts off simply with Everett Stone (Dermot Mulroney)
bringing his girlfriend, Meredith (Sarah Jessica Parker),
home for the holidays. The very liberal Stone family does
not take too warmly to the uptight Meredith, the fish out
of water in the household. Weird antics ensue as Meredith
tries to fit in (she brings her sister Julie over to help
her) and the Stones try to make her life a living hell.
enough, as mediocre as the film is described in my opening,
it has its moments. As the film progressed, the various subplots
started to flow into the picture. There were strong ones and
the ones that fell flat. The scene where Meredith launches
her opinion about homosexuality and gay marriages during dinner
is bound to cause both giggles and gasps. Ben Stone’s
(Luke Wilson) involvement in the film brings about the much
needed laughter. On the other hand, while the subplot about
Sybil Stone’s (Diane Keaton) illness was a good idea,
it was forgettable. And was it really necessary to introduce
Julie (Claire Danes) into the picture at all?
Keaton and Craig T. Nelson as the parents provide much warmth
and care to the family convincingly enough. Ty Giordano and
Brian White as the homosexual couple appear as the most functional
couple throughout the film. The brooding Dermot Mulroney and
the carefree Luke Wilson provide perfect examples of conflict
as two polar brothers. Rachel McAdams, as the youngest sister
showed signs of her Mean Girls character but never got anywhere
near that. Seems like everyone pulled through well enough?
Well, Sarah Jessica Parker spoils all that really. The Family
Stone is unlike Sex & The City territory and her character’s
fish-out-water situation is reflected in her limitations as
a first-timer, writer/director Thomas Bezucha’s effort
is truly commendable. The script to The Family Stone could
have been better tightened if certain subplots were removed.
At the same time, certain characters could have been strengthened.
It is a point to ponder though if Bezucha had specifically
written certain roles just to get the respective actors. It
is forgivable though for someone like Bezucha. Afterall, who
would not be in wonderment having names like Diane Keaton,
Claire Danes and Rachel McAdams acting together in your first
feature? As a director, he has managed to hold everyone together.
The film is also caught in a manner befitting a family reunion.
Family Stone is an erratic film. Although it may be more of
a rock than a jewel, it will at least make you warm all over
when you leave the theatre.
Family Stone will warm the coldest of winters)
by Mohamad Shaifulbahri