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The Family Stone
Official Movie Website  
Have you ever watched a film, where everyone in the theater is looking around at each other, trying to figure out whether their reaction should be laughter, or outrage?
            Yea, I hadn’t either, until I saw The Family Stone.
The plot line somewhat resembled the mind of a maniac depressive; with delightfully funny scenes slammed right up against heartbreaking or unbelievably cruel ones.  I walked out of the theater staggering like I just got off a rollercoaster.
            The story follows uber uptight New Yorker Meredith Morton (Sarah Jessica Parker), who is going to spend Christmas with her boyfriend Everett Stone’s (Dermot Mulroney) politically-correct family. 
Both Meredith and the family seem to do unbelievably stupid things, which unfortunately made the movie both less convincing and less meaningful.
            In a Yin and Yang style love affair, where each individual fills the gaping holes in the other, Meredith begins falling for Everett’s flop of a brother Ben (Luke Wilson), and Everett falls in love with Meredith’s sister Julie (Claire Danes). 
            The good thing about this film was the way it almost nonchalantly addressed important issues -- something seriously lacking from this season’s flicks.  With super sized movies like King Kong, Harry Potter and the Chronicles of Narnia packing the theater seats, Stone exuded more of an idie movie feel, dealing with subjects like cancer, homosexuality, and people with handicaps.
            The film was also packed with a number of big, but recently absent, names.  A wonderfully terrible Rachel McAdams, who goes back to her roots of being a major mean girl, plays Everett’s sister Amy, who torments Meredith in some of the most horrifying ways.  Everett’s mother Sybil, the never-cease-to-wow-me Diane Keaton, assists the torment, but shows much more remorse for it.
Parker as Meredith, who is equally as impressive, is somehow resilient to the family’s debauchery until the very end when they all explode, volcano-style.
            After a much needed night of drinking and singing with Ben, Meredith finally takes down that incredibly tight bun in her hair, which the audience had been cringing at for the last 60 minutes.  The family reunites, and Meredith marries Ben, and Everett marries Julie.
            The love square’s final resolution worked so nicely, no one seemed to notice that two brothers were marry two sisters, and the film was set in New York, not West Virginia.
            Although it was a bit of an emotional escapade, this film brought reality to the screen, and stands out this season because of it.  Truth, honesty, and a big spoonful of reality will always be respected in films because it speaks to us in a way that no dueling wizard or 30-foot gorilla can.
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