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Top reviews from the United States
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Although this movie takes place at Christmas, I wouldn't exactly call it a Christmas movie! I see why there are such mixed reviews, but because of the cast and I got it for cheap money I got it anyways. The acting was good but as far as dysfunctional families go this movie takes the cake (no real holiday cheer there)!!! It just didn't work for me, and I probably won't watch it again. Caution "spoiler" one brother ends up with his brother's girlfriend, and that brother ends up with her sister (REALLY)! The mother is sick but that's not mentioned much through out the movie, you just come to realize how sick she was at the end. I do NOT recommend this movie (especially if you want a feel good movie). If anything this movie left me feeling depressed, and this will NOT get put in my collection of Christmas movies.
I watched it in the theater when it came out, my husband loved it as much as I did. And I've sought it out to watch year after year as I think of holiday movies, so now I've seen it lots of times! I never get tired of it. It's funny, beautiful, moving, the cast is perfect, makes me admire the writer and the director. It's one of my favorite movies about family, love, life and relationships.
This movie always makes me somewhat uncomfortable but I really like it. I think I’ve watched it every holiday season since it was released. SJP’s character is annoying but the way she gets treated by her boyfriend’s family is downright sad! Everyone is so mean to her - especially the mother. I think I like it because it brings the right amount of dysfunction that reminds me of my family holidays!
Reviewed in the United States on December 11, 2016
It’s a downright huge homemade Christmas for the extended Stone family during the December holiday. The eldest and ‘favorite' son, Everett (Dermot Mulroney), brings his quite buttoned-up and beautiful girlfriend, Meredith (Sarah Jessica Parker), to meet the entirety of his free-spirited, unified, opinionated, and diverse brood. This entire bunch is filled to the brim with exclusive personalities, definite broad experiences, and poignant irons in the fire though they seem to all agree with each other for the most part… then comes the seemingly radical and unexpected spark off another set of opinions and let the dominoes fall where they may. While Meredith has a more conservative attitude amongst a family of the opposite, her opinions, thoughts, even her attempts at understanding cannot hold water and are under fire with this bunch so she feels compelled to call in the reinforcement of her sister Julie (Claire Danes) for some emotional support amongst this crew. So who are the judgmental here and who are judged? You decide while viewing this entertaining and often boisterous ensemble cast written and directed by Thomas Bezucha.
This is definitely not your typical merry, merry, happy family Christmas movie fare and I have watched it throughout the years at any time of year while realizing each time something new or overlooked before. In fact, this family is definitely not the easiest to warm up to as a whole. Each person is quite specific in how they face life except when it comes to their familial tunnel vision. They have that down in spades. With these many people acting together, there is too much to miss with just one viewing. The cast includes Diane Keaton (Sybil Stone), Craig T. Nelson (Kelly Stone), Rachel McAdams (Amy), and Luke Wilson (Ben) amongst so many others whom all fill the family home to overflowing right into the town’s public Inn; a Christmas family get together never looked quite like this to me before. This is less of a comedy as it is a drama with some great comedic elements. There are scenes that had me holding my breath because of what had been said while I was waiting for a response - or a response that I didn’t necessarily understand what all of the fuss was over. They may all fill up one great big home but these individual personalities manage to suck in each and every corner of breathing space. The questions may be as follows: Is there room for Meredith, who represents a different point of view? Can these families learn from one another that puzzle pieces don’t always fit perfectly, and if they do, the picture may be far too boring? Again, you decide.
Sarah Jessica Parker is the sole redeeming character in this poorly plotted Christmas special. The layers of drama fail to mesh and the result is a ridiculous combination of conflicting emotion and moral elitism. Diane Keaton is not the strong character she could be and her husband is perhaps the most absurd character in the movie. Could have been great, but somehow plot, dialogue and character credibility never come together for very long.
Reviewed in the United States on November 21, 2018
This is not necessarily a "Great Movie", it's not Casablanca and never would have been close to being nominated for anything. BUT it is such an enjoyable watch. It's the type of movie you find you love more and more the more times you watch. I was very neutral about this movie when it came out in 2005. As the years passed, I'd continue to see it on broadcast television during the holiday season and realized I kind of liked it. More years passed and I realized I should buy it. Then a girlfriend asked me to watch a Christmas movie with her one holiday season. She said pick your favorite Christmas movie and that's what we'll watch. I said, "This sounds weird but, The Family Stone" She said, "I LOVE THAT MOVIE, TOO!!!". It turns out many people have found the joy in this film through the 3rd, or 5th or 10th watch. Brad, for sure, is the best character. The others compliment one another quite well. Again, it's not going to win any awards but the characters are very fun and the story is actually heartwarming in an American-dream-self-aware-gone-weird kind of way. Watch it a few times and you'll fall in love and be wanting more every holiday season.
Reviewed in the United States on November 22, 2016
This is hands down our family's all time favorite Christmas movie! It's truly a new classic. The characters are well drawn, the plot is good, and there is the right mix of humor and drama. If you haven't seen this movie, you are missing out.
5.0 out of 5 starsThere are so many Christmas films that we love like It's A Wonderful Life
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 10, 2016
There are so many Christmas films that we love like It's A Wonderful Life, White Christmas, Meet Me In St Louis and even Holiday Inn. The only two modern films about Christmas that for me rank up there for a truly Christmas experience are Arnaud Desplechin's Conte de Noel and The Family Stone. There is something timeless about this film with its beautiful New England landscapes and very real characters beautifully acted. I just believe in them all as a family. I am afraid that this is my second copy as I must have worn the first one out. I do try to only see it after December 6th but quite often fail. This film will become a classic and deservedly so.
Wonderful, sweet-bitter film. The plot is very true to life, with a top notch cast and all-round 5 star plus performances. Diane Keaton. playing the terminally ill mother, got the mix of maternal and marital emotions with the illness-related mood swings, absolutely down to a tee. Her research must have been "something else". She has excelled SO many times! Smashing, everyday fayre!
I love this film; it is a good slice of family life with all its warmth, bickering and humour. Each member of the cast is good. I don't always like them in other films or tv programmes but somehow in this film, they just fit. The story begins with the comedy of stuck up Sarah Jessica Parker struggling to fit in with her fiance's overwhelming family. She makes lots of mistakes and we feel her embarrassment and frustration but also their indignation. It soon shifts gear and becomes a deeper tale of love and loss. Diane Keaton is wonderful as the matriarch of the family.