We had the pleasure of viewing ‘The Family Stone’ tonight. Sometimes when a movie is loaded with stars, you can see the seams where the writers were wedging each star’s role proportionally. In this flick, the Stones keep rolling out and despite the Q-factor wattage of the slyly named family, the movie is not overwhelmed by any one star or burdened with gratuitous scenes written solely to give a ‘name’ a extra few lines.
The movie does have a fairly conventional setup – fish out of water, in this case the uptight girlfriend comes home for Christmas with favorite son to meet the untight family led by a vicious Diane Keaton, a luminous Rachel McAdams, the outre’ artiste Luke Wilson and other non-mossy Stones including an overmatched dad played by the great Craig T. Nelson. The movie also has a fairly predictable conventional ending, but I promise you what comes in between the conventional setup and the hollywood ending is worth the ride.
There is one dinner scene where the uptight girlfriend, played by Sara Jessica Parker with severely bunned hair, is digging herself deeper and deeper into a conversational hole with discomfort and tension so palpable it is truly painful to watch. At that moment, the movie transcends the stellar cast, moving into territories charted only by the heart.
The movie twists, turns and turns again. An unbelievably beautiful moment of grace becomes farcical, then almost unbearably sad. I loved this movie, and despite the predictability factor, it did take me higher.