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The Family Stone

Movie review by
Cynthia Fuchs, Common Sense Media
The Family Stone Movie Poster Image
Bittersweet story won't appeal to younger teens.
  • PG-13
  • 2005
  • 102 minutes
Popular with kids

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 12 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Holidays are stressful, but family members really love each other.


Some fighting between brothers, treated as comedy and leaving black eyes and cut faces.


Sexual activity hinted at (woman wakes up in wrong brother's bed); gay couple kisses chastely; parents kiss and snuggle in bed, revealing very briefly the mother's mastectomy scar.


Minor language ("damn," "s--t").


Brief shot of Santa/Norelco ad on TV; beer labels visible in bar; an NPR logo marks a character's "liberal" leanings.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Drinking in bar, to point of passing out and forgetting the evening; references to pot-smoking.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this romantic comedy focuses on family tensions emerging when grown children come home for the Christmas holidays. Characters argue and pout; brothers fight, causing black eyes and cut cheeks. Characters drink at a bar, to the point that one passes out and doesn't remember how she ends up in her fiancé's brother's bed. One character is accused of racism, homophobia, and general "uptightness." While it's mainly comedic, the movie also includes a plot thread where a character is dying of cancer (brief glimpse of her mastectomy scar).

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byCSM Screen Name... April 9, 2008
Adult Written byCSM Screen Name... April 9, 2008

It was intertaining but family had no Christian values

Parts of it I have to admit were touching but I left feeling that the parents were very que sera sera with their kids and there were no bounderies set for them... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old April 9, 2008
wonderful movie!!!!!!!
Teen, 16 years old Written bymoviefanatic411 April 9, 2008

Good Christmas Movie

This movie was a good Christmas movie for families for kids older than 11.

What's the story?

In THE FAMILY STONE, the liberal-leaning, proud Stones are upset when good boy Everett (Dermot Mulroney) brings home a bad fiancée. Granted, Meredith (Sarah Jessica Parker) doesn't mean to be bad. In fact, she tries very hard to be liked. But she's just tense, fretful, and sometimes ignorant, making her a target for the free-thinking Stones. The family includes parents Sybil (Diane Keaton) and Kelly (Craig T. Nelson), and the kids: deaf Thad (Tyrone Giordano) and his African American partner Patrick (Brian J. White), pregnant Susannah (Elizabeth Reaser) and her charmingly brainy daughter Elizabeth (Savannah Stehlin), pot-smoking documentary filmmaker Ben (Luke Wilson), and the wittily "mean one," Amy (Rachel McAdams). Before such judges, every word Meredith speaks seems to indict her. Only Ben supports her. He encourages her: "You have the freak flag, you just don't fly it." Flying that flag will prove Meredith's salvation.

Is it any good?

Thomas Bezucha's film means well and offers fine performances, but is in the end tripped up by holiday-family-gathering movie clichés. The point of The Family Stone isn't really measuring up, though this is, of course, the presumption of Christmas-family-gathering movies.

While it provides pleasurable moments (Susannah watching Judy Garland sing in Meet Me in St. Louis on TV, Brad finding the perfect gift for Amy), The Family Stone is, finally, less brave than Meredith, resorting at last to cookie-cutter resolutions like slapsticky fights and everyone's-happy couplings.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the family relationships. How do the kids' behaviors resemble their parents'? How do the Stones come to see their presumed open-mindedness as insular and judgmental? How might Meredith's transformation from tense to sociable (here pushed along by a night of drinking), be achieved in a less stereotypical way?

Movie details

For kids who love romance

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