The Family Stone


Mixed or average reviews - based on 35 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 35
  2. Negative: 2 out of 35

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Critic Reviews

  1. Reviewed by: Rachel Clarke
    The Family Stone may not be super-serious or even, well, sly, but none of that matters: this is a warm and engaging film that is sure to become a perennial Christmas favorite.
  2. 75
    Keaton, a sorceress at blending humor and heartbreak, honors the film with a grace that makes it stick in the memory.
  3. Parker has a great time being the anti–Carrie Bradshaw while Keaton-as-matriarch is a particular joy -- funny, beautiful, elegant, touching, and at ease with a familiar, get-out-your-hankies holiday subplot.
  4. 75
    Silly at times, leaning toward the screwball tradition of everyone racing around the house at the same time in a panic fueled by serial misunderstandings. There is also a thoughtful side.
  5. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    As stuffed with beguiling performances - some of them unexpectedly good - as its script is overstuffed. And though even the beguiled may feel manipulated the next morning (or when hitting the exits), the players put it over by a nose. Happy holidays.
  6. 75
    A satisfying, big-hearted celebration of diversity that will brighten holiday moviegoing.
  7. Indie director Bezucha has held on to just enough individuality to breathe a little life into the cliches.
  8. 75
    This is the best adult holiday film in a while.
  9. As ridiculous, as mawkish and schizophrenic as The Family Stone is, it's also surprisingly endearing.
  10. A film that's at times as ragged and shaggy as its family unit. But as written and directed by Thomas Bezucha, its offbeat mixture of highly choreographed comic crises and the occasional bite of reality make for an unexpectedly enticing blend.
  11. The potential for moral confusion in a liberal-minded family -- unpacked so ruthlessly in Noah Baumbach's "The Squid and the Whale" -- is scrutinized with more ambiguity in this good-natured comic subversion of the holiday get-together.
  12. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    The performances are delightful, and the picture comes together.
  13. There are just too many damn characters, with the best ones taking a backseat to the dullish love quadrangle.
  14. The slapstick weeper The Family Stone is a lump of coal brightened by four diamond-sharp performances.
  15. A machine-tooled entertainment that's as fake and flimsy as a plastic Christmas tree. The only reason the movie isn't as bad as it has a right to be is the marvelous Diane Keaton.
  16. 63
    The movie is a holiday romantic comedy that wants to put the holiday romantic comedy out of business.
  17. 63
    The Family Stone should have been a glittering holiday bauble along the lines of the irresistible Love Actually. Instead, Bezucha stuffs into our stockings what he thinks is good for us. It's not coal, but it's not entirely what we were hoping for, either.
  18. Popped in the oven and marked with a predictable P, The Family Stone is the Christmas cookie of Christmas movies -- this thing is so pat it should come with the recipe attached.
  19. 60
    Although in danger of being unable to decide what kind of film it wants to be, a well-written script and well-judged performances make this a family outing worth taking.
  20. 60
    Luke Wilson has done some of his best work in dramatic roles (see "The Royal Tenenbaums" for clarity) and while he is not playing an entirely serious role here, his performance is still the most engaging.
  21. 60
    If there was ever a testament to the resilience of actors, in the face of a flawed script and wonky direction, The Family Stone is it.
  22. In place of the dysfunctional family Christmas story we've come to expect for the holidays, The Family Stone gives us a cheerfully uncensored, generic counterculture clan and tosses a tightly wound control freak into the center of their holiday celebration.
  23. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    Lurching uncertainly from slapstick to tears, The Family Stone works hard to warm the cockles of our hearts. The cast is attractive. The sentiments are commendable. But the love Bezucha wants us to feel for the family couldn't possibly compete with the love they already feel for themselves.
  24. Reviewed by: Justin Chang
    Keaton embodies the formidable Stone matriarch with an offhand sense of humor that cuts like a knife.
  25. 50
    A potentially interesting tale flailing haplessly in the quicksand of holiday-movie formula.
  26. Spends too much time on unconvincing romantic-comedy contrivances to be consistently engaging. Throughout the uneven film and its mixed bag of performances, the compelling point of focus is Diane Keaton's smart, funny, spot-on natural portrait of the formidable Stone matriarch.
  27. Parker is pretty much a disaster here, shrill and phony and, worst of all, spineless. She reminded me of Tea Leoni in "Spanglish," her performance working against the movie, serving only as a cumbersome, opaque obstacle.
  28. Could we please declare a moratorium on funny-sad movies about dysfunctional families, especially families that come together for the holidays?
  29. The women make The Family Stone, especially Ms. Parker, whose nimble performance is reason alone to see the film: not since Philippe Petit has anyone walked a tightrope with such finesse - and in high heels, no less.
  30. 50
    The talented and quirky-pretty Sarah Jessica Parker gives an excruciating performance. It's a keenly self-conscious caricature - the bold, showy kind that often wins awards yet sends audiences running from the theater.
  31. Almost totally emotionally bankrupt. But it's a very specific form of total emotional bankruptcy, one that feels honest and even uplifting at the time, because the actors are great and the direction's well intentioned and just-so.
  32. 40
    It's hard to fathom why anyone would voluntarily endure a holiday family reunion movie -- a genre devised solely to demonstrate how grotesque and how heartwarming families can be--when actual holiday family reunions already exist for those very reasons.
  33. 40
    Most of it falls on Bezucha, not just for devising these monstrously cruel characters, but for putting them in situations that are far too serious to be resolved by Christmas morning. When the melodrama gets too intense, the film collapses in slapstick.
  34. There are many ways to define the shrieking awfulness of The Family Stone, from the general lack of wit to the cheap exploitation of cancer to its casual cruelty, but it's writer-director Thomas Bezucha's casting that really goes awry.
  35. Bezucha made something perverse, a feel-bad holiday film about a repellent family, with a milquetoast dad and a smug, devious harpy of a mom.
User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 136 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 27 out of 79
  2. Negative: 42 out of 79
  1. DougP
    Dec 19, 2005
    Although the previews portray this movie to be a hysterical family reunion, it really is just an emotional rollercoaster with most of the Although the previews portray this movie to be a hysterical family reunion, it really is just an emotional rollercoaster with most of the actors in tears. A poor and confusing attempt to re-create Meet the Parents. A typical hollywood production of big names and poor plot. I would not recommend it, if you are looking for a fun, family oriented holiday movie. Full Review »
  2. AdamL.
    Dec 18, 2005
    Absolutely the worst film of the year, and that's really saying something considering 2005 has been the worst year for films, oh, EVER. Absolutely the worst film of the year, and that's really saying something considering 2005 has been the worst year for films, oh, EVER. Laugh-free, heavy-handed, contrived, redeeming qualities whatsoever. Avoid like ebola. Full Review »
  3. DavidA.
    Dec 18, 2005
    Have you ever wondered if it's possible to sleep in a theater. If you wanna find out you have to see this movie. This movie was awful, Have you ever wondered if it's possible to sleep in a theater. If you wanna find out you have to see this movie. This movie was awful, there were only like 2 funny momments that weren't even that funny. I saw people walk out in the middle of the movie , and I couldn't wait until it ended. I actually tried going to sleep but the theater was too loud. The only reason I give it a 1 is because I feel sorry for the producers. Full Review »