This movie was VERY powerful to me though it cd be b/c of personal ‘current events’ that it affected me so much.
It starts out introducing a very liberal family and brings in their somewhat conservative son and his girlfriend to whom he intends to propose using ‘The Family Stone.’
The family, very tolerant of race, homosexuality, etc., is VERY quick to not only judge the girlfriend, but also be quite mean to her… openly.
They’re a close, but harsh family so some of that is not a big surprise, but they mean to be mean so…
Soon the family begins to show their own cracks and chinks in their armor. They all believe they know best and reveal that, though it’s done out of love in many cases, they are closed minded to outside ideas and people.
The foundation of the story is the mother (who controls her family though in a very loving way… if that’s possible – even to the point from the screenwriter’s lines of “You need a haircut.” to her husband as they lie in bed) not wanting her son to marry a certain woman and w/holding ‘the stone’ from him and the son who wants to marry her.
The character of the son somewhat faded away to me b/c I focused mostly on the family as a whole and he was probably the least interesting. The ‘hole in his heart’ for the right woman to love was a great way to tell a story. And there is a breakthrough for him about his control, but his story wasn’t the core to me.
The other siblings’ stories, while interesting and somewhat intense at times, together are greater than the sum of the parts. The family to me is where the power is.
The dinner where Sarah Jessica Parker questions the mother’s desire to have all gay sons is amazing. The writer’s ability to see both sides is key. The mother wants (jokingly?) all her sons to be gay so that they never leave her. Wow!
Meredith questions that not able to understand how a mother cd wish her son be ‘not normal’ and wish a harder life for her son. The gay/deaf son and his black ‘partner’ both being offended and the father putting his foot down. All sides well done.
A brother takes out Meredith and gets her to ‘relax’ – something all characters need despite their appearance. She takes his advice and all things change for them.
Everett seeks what he wants and finds a girl wanting him to find it more than find her.
The mother, dying, needs to find a way to control (or take care of) her kids after she’s gone which can’t be done.
The powerful affection this family has for one another brings you into their family despite not liking them at times. Families are all flawed. None of them are normal despite the mother’s insistence that the gay/deaf son is more ‘normal’ than any of them.
Another great scene is when Meredith gives out her Christmas gift to everyone, a framed picture of the mother pregnant. It really is a great picture and they all appreciate the gift and it ties in the image of her as the matriarch of it all.
I think this is a good combination of close family going through many struggles and pain.
Again, I think my personal situation made the ‘family’ aspects all around very powerful to me.