The Family Stone

  • Review Date: May 1, 2006
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2005
  • Running Time: 102 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Bittersweet story won't appeal to younger teens.
  • Review Date: May 1, 2006
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2005
  • Running Time: 102 minutes

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

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

Violence

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

Sex

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.

Language

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

Consumerism

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.

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).

Parents say

Kids say

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?

QUALITY
 

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.

Families can talk 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

Theatrical release date:December 16, 2005
DVD release date:May 2, 2006
Cast:Diane Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Sarah Jessica Parker
Director:Thomas Bezucha
Studio:Twentieth Century Fox
Genre:Comedy
Run time:102 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:some sexual content including dialogue, and drug references.

This review of The Family Stone was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Adult Written byalishadawn33 April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
QUALITY
 

liberal agenda

This movie is not about what the previews lead you to believe and on top of that, it's not a good movie. It's not developed, the love story stinks, and there is too much going on to actually enjoy the movie or the charactors. It's more liberal propoganda than a movie
Adult Written bynightowl April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
QUALITY
 

lost 2 hrs of my life watching this movie

The movie itself was well acted, but it seemed as if someone was pushing an agenda with this movie. They shoved every minority issue into one relationship, and I think it detracted from the story. The minority issue could have been done so much more differently and better. Definitely won't be watching this movie again.
Adult Written byCSM Screen Name... April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
QUALITY
 

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Poll

What are the different ways that you access Common Sense Media ratings and information? (Check all that apply)

Essential Apps Guide