"The Family Stone" (2005)
This film boasts the best ensemble for a family dramedy: Rachel McAdams, Craig T. Nelson, Claire Danes, Dermot Mulroney, Luke Wilson, Elizabeth Reaser, Sarah Jessica Parker, Diane Keaton, Brian J. White, Tyrone Giordano and Paul Schneider. The film gained steam because it was Sarah Jessica’s first role after “Sex and the City” but is a story about the threads that bind family.
The social presence of this film is visionary. Thad (Tyrone Giordano), the gay deaf son apart of an interracial couple, was a seemingly effortless character for a story of this caliber. Diane Keaton, who played Sybil the matriarch with a secret that seeps through the family, continued her legendary delivery for humor. A tender scene was shared with Kelly (Craig T. Nelson), the patriarch of the film, when Sybil shares her fears with him as they are in bed. There is the joy of impending birth, courtesy of Susannah (Elizabeth Reaser), the return of boyfriend’s past for Amy (Rachel McAdams, arguably in her best dramatic role) and realization of love for Meredith (Sarah Jessica Parker) and Everett (Dermot Mulroney). The dinner table scene explores breaking barriers of what defines family when the discussion of Thad and Patrick’s adoption process was a topic of conversation.
“The Family Stone” will bring any Grinch to tears. The sentimentality of the film is balanced with the dry sarcasm. The twist at the end of the film for Meredith and Everett can be a conversation for the audience but will grow on the mind the more the film is watched. This film should be added to every holiday shelf, just between “Home Alone” and “A Christmas Story.”