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Film / The Family Stone

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The Family Stone is a 2005 American comedy-drama film written and directed by Thomas Bezucha, starring an ensemble cast that includes Diane Keaton, Craig T. Nelson, Dermot Mulroney, Sarah Jessica Parker, Luke Wilson, Claire Danes, Rachel McAdams, Tyrone Giordano, Brian J White, and Elizabeth Reaser.

The plot follows the Christmas holiday misadventures of the Stone family in a small New England town, when the eldest son (played by Mulroney) brings his uptight girlfriend (played by Parker) home with the intention of proposing to her with a cherished heirloom ring. Overwhelmed by the hostile reception, she begs her sister to join her for emotional support, triggering further complications.

Not to be confused with Sly and the Family Stone.


  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Sybill, much to Amy's mortification.
  • Bittersweet Ending: By the end of the movie everyone is seen reunited for Christmas a year later; Meredith is now with Ben, Everett with Julie, Thad and Patrick have adopted a baby boy named Gus, Susannah has had her baby, and Amy is engaged to Brad and wearing her grandmother's ring. But it is all but stated that Sybill has died over the course of the year.
  • Black Sheep:
    • Subverted with Everett, who has the appearances of a buttoned-up Manhattan executive, but is really just like the rest of his family.
    • Played straighter with Ben, who is supposed to be the "loser" of the family but is probably the nicest, most understanding, and least judgemental of the family.
  • Both Sides Have a Point: The Christmas Movie.
  • Bourgeois Bohemian: The Stone family has this kind of vibe going on.
  • Brutal Honesty: Rachel McAdams describes Amy as someone who isn't mean so much as she just calls things as she sees them.
  • But Not Too Gay: Thad and Patrick never kiss.
  • Camp Gay: Thad is a slightly milder example.
  • Digging Yourself Deeper: Meredith is very good at this, as shown in the dinner scene, where she doubles down on her homophobic comments.
  • Double-Meaning Title: The title refers both to the titular family, whose surname is Stone, and the ancestral engagement ring that Everett wishes to propose with.
  • Fun with Foreign Languages: The whole family uses sign language because younger brother Thad is (at least partially) deaf.
  • Happily Married: Sybill and Kelly Stone. Also Susannah with her husband John.
  • Informed Flaw: Amy has already met Meredith before, and her less than flattering report on her big brother's girlfriend somewhat sets the entire family (except perhaps Ben, who is all too aware of Amy's bullshit) against said girlfriend when she tags along for a family Christmas.
  • Jerkass:
    • The whole family is this when they first meet Meredith. Heck, the teaser poster uses the wedding ring finger to flip you off, so that should be a clue.
    • Meredith during the family dinner where she makes condescending, homophobic comments towards Thad. What sparks this is Sybil saying she is glad her son is gay, (which isn't to say she's glad he's not straight, but that she accepts him for who he is). Meredith misinterprets this as Sybil saying she wanted a gay son, and her response is essentially that Thad's life would have been better if he was straight. They family actually lets this slide at first, but then Meredith makes the mistake of using the word "normal".
  • Love at First Sight: Everett apparently falls for Julie the second he sets eyes on her, which wouldn't be a problem if he hadn't spent most of the movie planning on proposing to her older sister.
  • Massive Numbered Siblings: There are five Stone children.
  • Meet the In-Laws: Prospective in-laws, and it is a disaster from day one.
  • Mood Whiplash: The dinner scene goes from comedic to serious when Meredith makes insensitive comments concerning Thad’s sexuality.
  • Nice Guy: Ben is the only Stone to show kindness to Meredith throughout the movie and they eventually end up together.
  • Not Under the Parents' Roof: Meredith invokes this, being uncomfortable and feeling that it's disrespectful. Sybil laughs her head off at this when Everett tells her. Sure enough, Meredith's efforts at currying favor with Sybil have made her dislike her even more because it demonstrates how ridiculously uptight she is.
  • Obnoxious In-Laws: No one in the family likes Meredith at all. Amy most especially. They do come to far warmer relations by the end.
  • Open-Minded Parent: Sybill, to the point where she finds Meredith's point blank refusal to share a bed with Everett under his parents' roof absolutely ridiculous.
  • Papa Wolf: Sybil and Kelly are very protective of Thad, who is gay. When Meredith starts getting really insensitive with her opinions on homosexuality, both of them angrily tell her to stop.
  • Pun-Based Title: A Multiple Reference Pun, referring to the family name (making them The Family Stone) and the heirloom ring (the family stone).
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Strait-laced Meredith and artistic Julie. There's also career man Everett with the more laid-back Ben.
  • Settle for Sibling: Double example, with Meredith ending up with Ben and Everett ending up with Julie.
  • The Stoner: Ben.
  • Trailers Always Lie: The movie trailer made it seem like a comedy... which, while it does have its comedic moments, it also has plenty of drama.
  • Twofer Token Minority: Two examples: Thad, a deaf gay man, is engaged to a black gay man named Patrick.
  • Wham Line: When Sybill reveals she's sick to Everett.