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THE FAMILY STONE
USA & UK: Twentieth Century Fox
Cast: Claire Danes, Diane Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Dermot Mulroney, Craig T Nelson, Sarah Jessica Parker, Luke Wilson, Ty Giordano, Brian White, Elizabeth Reaser, Paul Schneider, Savannah Stehlin, Jamie Kaler, Robert Dioguardi, Carol Locatell, Ginna Carter, Gus Buktenica, Michael Pemberton, Ron Wall, Christopher Parker, Steve Alterman, John Gidcomb, Susan Leslie, Hope Levy, Randall Montgomery, Jill Remez
Director: Thomas G Bezucha
USA & UK: 103 mins
USA Rated: PG-13 for some sexual content including dialogue, and drug references
UK Certificate: PG contains mild bad language, sex references and drug references
USA Release Date: 16 December 2005
UK Release Date: 16 December 2005
THE FAMILY STONE is a comic story about the annual holiday gathering of a New England family, the Stones. The eldest son brings his girlfriend home to meet his parents, brothers and sisters. The bohemian Stones greet their visitor - a high-powered, controlling New Yorker - with a mix of awkwardness, confusion and hostility. Before the holiday is over, relationships will unravel while new ones are formed, secrets will be revealed, and the family Stone will come together through its extraordinary capacity for love.
Sybil Stone (Diane Keaton) is the strong-willed matriarch who is at the heart of the Stone family, an outspoken woman who wants only the best for her five children. Strikingly beautiful, her face now reflects a recent note of brittleness or fatigue, suggesting that perhaps Sybil carries a secret.
Sybil and her family are not pleased with the arrival of eldest son Everett's girlfriend, Meredith Morton (Sarah Jessica Parker). Meredith is an immaculately composed, contemporary New York City based career woman whose tailored suits, upswept hair and subtle makeup speak volumes about her personality, making an indelible impression on both friends and strangers. When she meets the Stones, the results are chaotic and unforgettable.
After her initial trial by fire with the Stones, Meredith enlists the help of her younger sister, Julie Morton (Claire Danes). Julie, who works at a foundation awarding grants to artists, isn't nearly as tightly wound as Meredith. Julie enters the "lions' den" with much more ease than her sister, but Julie's visit ultimately leads to further complications, especially for Everett Stone (Dermot Mulroney). Everett is a successful executive in Manhattan whose charm comes from the fact that he seems to be utterly unaware of the effect his attractiveness and easy-going nature has on others.
Everett's brother, Ben Stone (Luke Wilson), seems to have strayed the furthest from his family's New England roots. A film editor living on the West Coast, Ben's unpredictable, sometimes mischievous nature is reflected in the ultra-casual clothes he wears.
Ben and Everett's sister, Amy Stone (Rachel McAdams), is the passionate, outspoken and youngest member of the family. She bears her luminous natural beauty with an aggressive indifference - and with a near open hostility toward Meredith.
The family patriarch, Kelly Stone (Craig T Nelson), is a college professor in his sixties who is still an impressive figure. Kelly has an obvious love for his family that drives his every move.
Elizabeth Reaser plays another Stone sibling, Susannah, and Ty Giordano portrays Thad Stone, the youngest son, who is both deaf and gay. Giordano is a deaf actor who, like his on-screen character, reads lips and speaks, in addition to signing. Brian White plays Thad's partner, Patrick.
THE FAMILY STONE is set during Christmas, in a small college town, because the holidays resonate for families like no other time of the year. The Stone household is characterized by its absence of traditional social boundaries. They routinely discuss everything from smoking pot to the loss of virginity. No subject is taboo - especially the topic of Meredith Morton.
From the movie's opening scene - in which an impeccably-tailored Meredith is in a New York department store, barking out orders into her cell phone to an office subordinate while Christmas shopping with Everett Stone - the audience recognizes Meredith as the quintessential tightly wound, "Type A" Manhattan career woman. Her stylish designer spike-heeled pumps could not be more out of place when she arrives at the Stone's cozy, comfortable and well-worn home.
A clash of cultures is inevitable and swift; soon Meredith realizes the contempt with which she is perceived, so she moves out of the Stone house and into a local inn. Despite efforts by Everett's brother Ben to console her, Meredith asks her sister Julie to join her for emotional support. Julie's arrival - and its unexpected effect on Everett - turns the family Stone upside-down.