The Family Stone

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

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.

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.

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).

Wondering if The Family Stone is OK for your kids?

Set preferences and get age-appropriate recommendations with Common Sense Media Plus. Join now

Continue reading Show less

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, 11 years old February 11, 2018

great movie

the movie the family stone is good movie for my age from 11 to 13. there is no sex,but a mother said a crude comment to her daughter and a conversation about be... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written bydavispittman December 13, 2016

I'm not quite sure if younger teens will be interested, but it's really good......

Like I said, not quite sure if younger teens will be interested in this family Christmas movie, but it really is a great film! I think this movie is appropriat... Continue reading

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

Our editors recommend

For kids who love romance

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

Streaming options powered by JustWatch

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate