Prayer Focus
Movie Review

The Family Stone

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some sexual content including dialogue, and drug references

Reviewed by: Evan D. Baltz
CONTRIBUTOR

Very Offensive
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Teens, Adults
Genre:
Romance Comedy
Genre:
Length:
1 hr. 42 min.
Year of Release:
2005
November 4, 2005 (wide) / DVD release: May 2, 2006
Featuring: Claire Danes, Diane Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Dermot Mulroney, Craig T. Nelson
Director: Thomas Bezucha
Producer: Michael London
Distributor: 20th Century Fox Distribution
Copyright, 20th Century Fox Distribution
Copyright, 20th Century Fox Distribution
Copyright, 20th Century Fox Distribution
Copyright, 20th Century Fox Distribution
Copyright, 20th Century Fox Distribution
Copyright, 20th Century Fox Distribution
Relevant Issues
Copyright, 20th Century Fox Distribution
Family Answers HOME page
Biblical parenting and marriage tips

What’s wrong with being gay? Answer

What about gays needs to change? Answer
It may not be what you think.

What should be the attitude of the church toward homosexuals and homosexuality? Answer

What is the true meaning of CHRISTMAS?
Discover the Christ behind Christmas. Answers for skeptics. Plus, Christmas carols, games, coloring pages, reviews of Christmas movies, and more.
Relationship Information
Learn how to make your love the best it can be. Discover biblical answers to questions about sex, marriage, sexual addictions, and more.

What are the consequences of sexual immorality? Answer

“Feel The Love”

There is always prone to be drama when the grown children all come home for Christmas. Well, maybe in real life. In “The Family Stone” there wasn’t a great deal of drama, comedy, writing, believable situations, believable characters, or anything else worth watching. Instead, this sleigh-wreck of a holiday movie was about as enjoyable as a three year-old fruitcake.

’Twas the week before Christmas
and all through the house
was cast full of clichés
not fit for a mouse.

Mom was all foul-mouthed
and dying of cancer.
One daughter was pregnant
The other with too much to say
One son was laid back
Another was gay.

When all of a sudden
There arose such a fuss
A possible fiancé arrived arrive with son two
And the family all complained until they were blue

But I in my chair looked at my watch
Only one hour had passed, how could this be?
Hadn’t I been there already a full century?

It was about then I was hoping for a red-nosed reindeer to light my way out of the theatre. But, alas, I had no such good fortune and was instead served a plate of offensive political correctness, as “The Family Stone” discussed at their dinner table how “normal” homosexuality is and how great it was for a gay couple (one black, one deaf) to be adopting a child.

This movie was embarrassingly uneven and unbalanced. I didn’t know if it was supposed to be a comedy or something else. I guess they thought it a comedy, since there was odd slapstick thrown in here and there. Maybe it was supposed to be a melodrama—with people dying of cancer, gay couples, siblings swapping siblings, and about a dozen ridiculous subplots going on; it seemed like the writers were just brainstormed every possible scenario and never settled on an actual story.

Many a good actor was wasted, including Dermot Mulroney, Claire Daines, Diane Keaton, and Sarah Jessica Parker, just to name a few. All of their characters were actually more like caricatures, cartooning their way through overly formulaic situations and conversations.

There were about a dozen uses of the Lord’s name in vain, and a half a dozen other curse words, most spoken by the mother of the family. There was no nudity, except Diane Keaton’s character shows her mastectomy scar. Nothing says cheery Christmas movie quite like that. Then there was the whole homosexual dinner debate that sickened me. Members of the family talked about how there is probably a gay gene, and parents should actually be glad to have a gay child, and it is totally normal—and what a joy when they and their homosexual lover adopt a child. Why this was in the movie I have no idea. Well, I have one idea. Hollywood loves to ram this down our throats, even in a Christmas movie now. Homosexuality is not innate. It’s a sin, and the Bible makes that quite clear. Acceptance of sin as normal behavior makes a mockery of God’s order and creation.

Here is an early Christmas present for you all: Don’t go see this movie. There, I just saved you some money. Spend it on something nice for someone in the real world whom you love. Spend Christmas with your family, not “The Family Stone”.

As for me, I’ll be asking Santa to put a lump of coal in The Family Stone’s stockings.

Violence: Minor / Profanity: Moderate / Sex/Nudity: Minor

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer CommentsSend your comments

Negative

Negative—Your review of this film was absolutely on the head. I couldn’t believe when the mother, Diane Keaton talked about her daughter losing her “cherry” to this boy name Brad in the kitchen, making dinner. It was so offensive. There is no redeeming value at all in this movie. When is Hollywood going to “get it”?
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive / 1
—Patti Harris, age 52
Negative—I wish I had read the Christiananswers.net review before I went. The movie was not particularly funny and once again Hollywood tries to show us how normal the homosexual life style is. The gay couple adopted a child at the end of the movie. Don’t waste your money.
My Ratings: Very Offensive / 2
—Kevin, age 51
Negative—Listen to the reviewer and the comments above. This was NOT a good movie. To emphasize the positives of asking your kids if they are going to be gay, just turned my stomach. The movie dragged, yet the relationships were too fast and shallow. All of a sudden the last 15 minutes of the movie two sisters had switched loves with two brothers (one because she mistakenly thought she had slept with him), and the next thing you know it’s the next year, and they are both married. “A Bomb” would be a compliment.
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive / 1
—Cliff Cannon, age 42
Negative—Why didn’t I come here first?! That’s what everyone is saying. We had to use up free tickets, so we went, forgetting what reviewers said. I was Really Offended!! The acting was okay, the actors are quality, but the agenda. AAARRGH! I am SO sick of Hollywood thrusting the gay lifestyle down our throats, but this was ridiculous! Who in their right mind would desire gay kids, as the Mom said? Meredith may have said the wrong things, but only because the family was so weird. So, of course, she had to later proclaim most emphatically how much she “LOVED!” gays (because they’re gay, not because they’re people Jesus died for). The people were so nasty that you didn’t care about them at all. This could have been a good movie, if they’d have made the family a LITTLE nicer! …All I could think about was she’d die and go to hell… Then the fiance switching was irritating, though predictable. Meredith and Ben were the only characters I didn’t dislike completely. Meredith’s fiance was horrible in his lack of support for her and his instant attraction to her sister. What a waste of free tickets!
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive / 2
—Anne England, age 57
Negative—Unfortunately, we sat through most of it hoping it might improve, but the gay couple adopting a baby on Christmas day was too much. I should have left when Diane Keaton referred to a young man in the community in a course way that indicated he was the one who took her daughter’s virginity. “Mom” Keaton made fun of the couple for not sleeping together while at her house and the solution to any of their problems seemed to be alcohol or marijuana. What a horrible show for PG-13—and the trailers made it look like a romantic Christmas comedy. Shame on Hollywood!
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive / 3
—Barbara McLean, age 55
Negative—I felt like I was misled into going to this movie. The previews show some comedy lines between family members when the brother brings home his girlfriend to meet the family at Christmas. The stage is set for many funny exchanges between the antagonists. However, that premise quickly morphs into an overt apologetic for the homosexual lifestyle. I was not only offended, I felt cheated out of my money. I am telling everyone I know to avoid this film.
My Ratings: Very Offensive / 2
—Dennis, age 60
Negative—I feel like I’ve been robbed! My daughter and I thought we’d do a “girlie day” and see a fun Christmas movie. This supposed “Christmas Comedy” was one of the saddest, vilest and most vulgar movies I’ve seen! While there is no outright sex shown, it is talked about in a very offensive way! The language throughout was nasty and disgusting, especially lines by Diane Keaton! I am offended that this movie was billed as a “soon to be Christmas Classic” when it was only a medium for everything anti-Christian and pro PC! Save your money and do not spend it on this movie! Wish we’d known about this site before we went!
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive / 1
—Elise, age 51
Negative—I found this movie to be extremely offensive; the language and sexual reference were atrocious. I left before the movie was half over. Do not wait your money; don’t see this poor excuse for comedy.
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive / 3
—Rober, age 21
Negative—My wife and I didn’t watch the entire movie, because it only took about 15-20 minutes to be totally offended. The writers tried to include every type of liberal personality and make them seem the norm. When Diane Keaton’s character took God’s name in vain, that was all it took for us to leave and get our money back. Don’t waste your time or money.
My Ratings: Very Offensive / 2
—Jerry Tobias, age 45
NegativeDiane Keaton gives a shining performance as the quirky matriarch of the Stone family in this off-kilter, comedy/tragedy about family life at Christmastime. That said, I can ONLY recommend this movie to mature audiences and only then with several cautions. This IS a very well acted film about family at Christmastime, but it is definitely NOT a family film. I really cannot recommend it to a conservative, Christian audience at all.

The Stone family is a very liberal family, very much in love with themselves and each other in all their quirkiness. Sarah Jessica Parker offers herself up in what seems to be a very unattractive role as Meredith Morton, the uptight, successful Upper Westsider girlfriend who enters into the melee of Christmas with her conservative boyfriend’s family. The “tolerant” family members have very harshly pre-judged Meredith and make it clear from the beginning that she is really not even welcome in their New England home, let alone as a potential member of the family. The family is not really “dysfunctional” in the true sense of the word, just very liberal and very wrapped up in their own little cocoon.

When Meredith feels uncomfortable sharing boyfriend Everett’s (Dermot Mulroney) bedroom, his mother Sybil (Keaton) says to him, “What, like, you don’t screw?” Sybil likes to shock with other statements such as, “We love Brad. He’s the one who popped Amy’s cherry!” and “I had hoped ALL of my sons would be gay. I certainly tried.” Meredith, in all her uptightness, cannot help sticking both feet in her mouth when her curiosity causes her to ask some very poorly thought out questions of deaf, gay son Thad (Tyrone Giordano) and his partner Patrick (Brian J. White) who are adopting a child.

Rachel McAdams plays Amy Stone, the rude and edgy mama’s girl who loves nothing more than to invent ways to humiliate Meredith. Craig T. Nelson, as Kelly the father, appears by some insightful comments to be the one compassionate member of the family. When there is a hint of impending tragedy he is seen sharing a father/son moment on the snow covered high school bleachers with his laid back, pot-smoking son Ben (Luke Wilson).

After Meredith’s sister Julie (Claire Danes) arrives to offer support the plot twists and turns, sometimes predictably, always irreverently. Ultimately it is Ben who comes to Meredith’s rescue by getting her out of the situation for a bit of R&R when everything finally reaches the boiling point, but not without a few more shocking revelations along the way.

Will Meredith ever find a way to blend into the family, or should she even try?

I give it 2½ of 4 very tarnished stars—simply for the wonderful acting. I do not recommend this movie for ANYONE looking for a Christian worldview. Rated a VERY strong PG-13 for plenty of language (including expletives in ASL), drug references, sexual references, and adult themes. Numerous shock lines throughout the movie.
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive / 2½
—Cami Jones and John Kehrli, age 31
Negative—What a disappointment! I really, really wanted to like this movie. After seeing numerous trailers with humorous moments, upbeat music, a tremendous cast, I thought that this would be a light, if not touching, Christmas movie Instead of the funny family shenanigans one has come to expect from these sorts of movies, we are introduced to a politically correct family, if there ever was one, and a lengthy and forced sermon on the normality of homosexuality and homosexual adoption. I am not homophobic; however, I do follow what the Bible says about the lifestyle and am greatly opposed to homosexual adoption. I am a firm believer that a child needs a mother and a father figure. Yet, I can deal with messages in a movie, even if I don’t agree with them; however, to have those practically shoved down my throat is irritating.

There were so many moments in this movie that felt out of place, for instance the mom balking at Meredith’s insistence in sleeping in a separate bed from her boyfriend, claiming that “…separate beds? It’s so silly…” then proceeding in conversation with her son about his sex life, the dad smoking pot with his son while conversing about his mother’s breast cancer, and the sudden switching of sisters and brothers was forced, unrealistic and underdeveloped.

The movie was not funny, and the family borderlined abusive in their behavior towards Meredith. “Meet the Parents” handled this sort of comedy perfectly; however, there is nothing funny about the way the Stone’s treat Meredith. The filmmakers create some unusually awkward moments with the family’s humiliation of Meredith that rarely turn out funny.

As for the couple of the hour, there was such a lack of chemistry between Meredith and Everett that I really wanted to know what brought them together in the first place. In fact, there were so many times when Everett seemed repulsed at Meredith and not once did he stand up for her when his family was humiliating her. On the topic of Meredith. I would not call her normal; however, she was the closest thing to normalcy in the entire movie as far as sensibilities go and was portrayed as a stuck-up prude and invasive houseguest.

This film was such a waste of star talent and I have to wonder what led these actors/actresses to accept the roles—paychecks anyone? Well, I guess you got to eat. Back on track, I actually left the theater very untouched and unamused. A “funny, one laugh right after the next” Christmas comedy this is not. This was truly a missed opportunity to have a great and funny feel good Christmas comedy, but it was so butchered by political correctness, sermons and forced relationships that turned out to be an uninspiring film that is not likely to be added to many people’s “Must watch during Christmastime” lists. Better luck next year!
My Ratings: Offensive / 2½
—Charles, age 21
Negative—I found the movie offensive in every aspect. My anger was at being misled in the previews. I know anyone can make any movie they want to. This is America. However, I feel the movie industry has a responsibility to be honest in it’s previews. I have become more careful in choices, however, after “The Family Stone”, I think I will read a good book over going to a movie. The industry is too dishonest with the impressions it gives the public. I only stayed through the movie because we were 4 people. When it was over I learned that everyone felt the same way. We were age 19, 36, 44 and 63.
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive / 3
—Brenda Shelton, age 63
Negative—What a waste of time and money. I thought it would be funny. The Mother (Diane Keaton), was a nightmare. She was so rude and crude, I couldn’t believe it. The youngest daughter was creepy. The husband a whimp. The pot head son, gay son, pregnant daughter and perfect son were all boring. Everything else was plain dull. This is the worst movie I have ever seen in a while.
My Ratings: Very Offensive / 1
—Patti, age 39
Negative—I am sorry I rented this movie. I expected a funny movie about a girlfriend trying to fit in/impress the family. Was I ever wrong!!!… I did not expect to be slapped with so many moral issues and profanity. I was very offended by this movie!
My Ratings: Very Offensive / 2
—Haven, age 35
Negative—Pretty snow, very postcard-ish—This film provides a prime example of a family dedicated to knowing God and keeping Him out of their lives entirely. In the opening credits, the one “Christmas” card that persists the longest for your viewing pleasure is the one that says “XMAS,” clearly cutting Christ out of this “CHRIST-Less Mess” story. The house has “Holiday” cards in many locations, remarkably, not one card holds a religious image. No, none. The people don’t even know a Christian, or won’t put their card up in view. The tree with all it’s trimmings doesn’t even have a star, much less an angel. The [dying] Character Mother is the tree trimmer.

Dad and {Mom referenced} prodigal son are marijuana smokers and do whatever they can to keep Mom happy. Middle son is clearly gay-married for years, and has his “physical” handicap. Middle daughter has kids and is pregnant, clearly not a disturber of the peace. Eldest son is a closet Buddhist, even in his relationship with the “straight” woman. He’s clearly seeking something spiritual, clearly not finding it in his childhood home. The baby of the family is a mad, mean NPR supporter who tolerates few, and judges most.

Minor points to be sure, but what the film does teach is that the mother of this house runs it, and clearly nobody wants to “cross” her. The only character in this movie that shows any claim to spirituality, keeps all his Buddhist images hidden in his childhood closet. Several references are made to the fact that the gay couple have been together for years and are married. The Crossed Mother claims gays are more normal than the “derogatory term” others that don’t agree. Tolerance and acceptance, so long as you agree AND Celebrate their gayness. One even stands in the center of the screen and flaunts his wedding ring, complete with a momentary flash off of it, just when the “ring” is in the very center of the field of the cinematography frame. In Understanding filmmaking; that everything in the field of view of any screen shot is there by design will help you know the point of a film. This film was supposedly set in Connecticut, and the married gays drive in from Massachusetts [license plate on their Rover]. Why indeed would you want any of your children to be gay. Mom said she hoped all her boys would have been gay so they would not leave home. But, the gay one did. Presumably to be gay-married. It’s a stupid movie with a clear message that having your sons swapping sisters (Even when one is about to be engaged) and other sons being gay is all OK, but just don’t bring the Cross of Christ into their lives. Hollywood loves this message.
My Ratings: Offensive / 3
—Lowell, age 45
Negative—This movie would have been really good, but it was blocked by a wall of extremely offensive content. Where do I even begin. The movie totally promotes gay marriage, a mother encourages her son and his husband and states that she wishes all her sons had been gay. There are several crude references that condone sex while in a bf/gf relationship. The biggest turn off for me was the fact that the gayness was sooooooo overdone and promoted, they cleverly made it so that he is deaf, hence it triggers pity for him so that him being gay is much more acceptable, and in the end the couple adopts a baby, being a christian my tolerance for gay promotion in movies is zero. some might call this closed-minded and “aren’t we supposed to love everyone?” Well, yes, however, we are supposed to love the sinner, but hate the sin. I would not pay money to see this movie again. It was entertaining, and I managed to get a few laughs in—the love story was classic and cute. I like romantic movies, and this one had a good story. But I cringed more then laughed or cried. Not for younger children.
My Ratings: Very Offensive / 3
—Becki Gauna, age 15

Neutral

Neutral—This movie was actually pretty depressing. SJP wasn’t likeable at all. Neither was Diane Keaton, and it was actually pretty hard to feel sorry for her when she dies in the end. It was kind of annoying, actually. It wasn’t very funny, and I kept trying to like at least one character. I settled on SJP’s little sister and her boyfriend’s sister. At least they can act. …
My Ratings: Average / 3
—Lydia, age 19
Neutral—The topic of homosexuality is very important to me, and any film dealing with it riles me up. Several members of my family are involved in same-sex relationships, and I happen to be bisexual—that is, I am often attracted, by no choice of my own, to members of my own sex. But out of self-respect and love for God, I want no part in homosexual activity. I tell you from firsthand experience, homosexuality is NOT normal. It actually HURTS the homosexual, whether she acts out her warped desires or not. It is neither a sin (only chosen acts can be sins—and who would CHOOSE this miserable condition?) nor a benign mark of individuality like “handedness,” as one of the film’s characters puts it. It is an illness, and it needs a cure. Unfortunately, for those of us who suffer every day from a distorted self-image, the culture of political correctness denies our pain and would like to see us trapped in this Hell forever.

Sadly, “The Family Stone” struts a bias toward the acceptance of homosexuality as normal. As part of the “happy” ending, the film’s gay couple adopts a baby, leaving us to wonder what will become of the premeditatedly motherless child. But this movie makes one of Hollywood’s few attempts to give conservative views something of a fair say. When the mother (Diane Keaton) says she wishes all her boys had been born gay, Sarah Jessica Parker’s character tries to explain her view that it is wrong to want the misery of homosexuality for one’s own children, only to be harshly silenced by members of the family who misinterpret her statement as bigotry. It’s a grim reflection of the real world: people who support homosexuality just don’t get our stance no matter how many times we explain it to them. They immediately cast off everything we say as nonsense, showing a pathetic effort to understand it. So who’s close-minded?
My Ratings: Offensive / 3
—Julia, age 19

Positive

Positive—I thought this movie touched on many issues that today as Christians we have to face. I liked the fact that homosexuality was discussed in the movie, even though the Bible does speak of homosexuality as a sin as Christians we have to face this issue… I would recommend this movie to all of my friends.
My Ratings: Excellent! / 4½
—Nicole, age 20
Positive—A hilarious, realistic, and touching family film with great acting. Except for some foul language, my wife and I enjoyed this film very much. …
My Ratings: Offensive / 4
—Laurence Smith, age 44
Positive—From the previews I thought this would be mostly a comedy, but after seeing it I realized that it was a touching drama with numerous amounts of comedy tucked inside. This story is original and beautiful. It’s humorous and tear-jerking. I enjoyed it very much. The characters are easy to get emotionally connected with and the story is great. And the movie is wonderfully cast with: Diane Keaton, Sarah Jessica Parker, Luke Wilson, Rachel McAdams, Claire Danes and Dermot Mulroney. Although it strays away from the biblical views of adultery and gay marriage, it still was a good movie…
My Ratings: Good / 4½
—Evelynn, age 23
Positive—I think that this movie was delightful. …I did not like the gay aspect and the pushing of acceptance of that. Some type of left wing agenda is in 90 percent of the films. The acting was great. The comedy was fine. It was very fun to watch, and I very much enjoyed it. …This is a movie about a family that is tight knit but also very complex, with issues that have been with them forever. In the end you see some things resolved when they have to face the truth—the same as any family.
My Ratings: Average / 5
—Dennis Thompson, age 49
Movie Critics
…Don’t be misled by the too-cute trailers that make “Family Stone” look like “Meet the Parents II” or “III.” …the members of this family are more soulful than silly …
—Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Barry Paris
…confused and dysfunctional… it’s a fractious Christmas spent with unpleasant relatives you’d rather avoid…
—Orlando Weekly, Jason Ferguson
…“The Family Stone” aims to please, and lands precisely on so-so…
—Chicago Tribune, Allison Benedikt
…Fun cast, but short of the sleigh ride you’d wish…
—Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Eleanor Ringel Gillespie
…sparkles bright with originality…
—BBC Films, Stella Papamichael
…“The Family Stone” is as stuffed with beguiling performances—some of them unexpectedly good—as its script is overstuffed…
—USA Today, Mike Clark