Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Family Stone

I saw this movie on New Year's Eve. What I liked most about it was that it didn't follow the typical romantic comedy format. The premise of the movie is a man bringing home his girlfriend to meet his family at Christmas. The family hates her, and the woman has a hard time. Pretty straightforward. The movie took an interesting turn when it revealed that the mother was dying and her son wanted to propose to his girlfriend in the hope that it would somehow heal his mother. It is obvious from the beginning of the movie that he can't stand his girlfriend, though, and she calls her sister to come and help her cope with Christmas there.

The family is made up of a college-age sister who is really snide and mean, a pregnant older sister with a daughter who is maybe eight, a deaf gay brother and his partner, and a brother who smokes pot (a really bad explanation but I can't think of a better one). The family is extremely liberal, which is a nice change from many movies of this genre.

Christmas is a disaster, and people start switching partners. The pot brother ends up with his brother's girlfriend, and the boyfriend ends up with his girlfriend's sister. The chaos surrounding all of this is truly hysterical.

So anyway, that's the plot. The part of the movie that I found completely out of place and intolerable was a series of homophobic comments made by the girlfriend during Christmas Eve dinner. The family was obviously offended, and the gay brother and his partner were hurt. The family still put up with her, though. They didn't strike me as the sort of family that would have.

The end of the movie, which takes place the following Christmas, is truly touching in a very understated way. I ended up liking it quite a lot.

My rating: * * * *

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