17. The Family Stone
Release Year: 2005
Directed By: Thomas Bezucha
Starring: Diane Keaton, Craig T. Nelson, Dermot Mulroney, Luke Wilson, Elizabeth Reaser, Rachel McAdams, Sarah Jessica Parker, Claire Danes, Jamie Kaler, Paul Schneider
Perhaps the most popular kind of Christmas movie centers on dysfunctional families. Because those are the most true to life, aren’t they? The holidays aren’t all rekindled romances and delicious pies, no matter what the Hallmark Channel tries to spoon-feed us. More often than not, Christmas is a tough time, especially as families grow and age. The Family Stone captures all of this, without a sugarcoat.
The Family Stone follows a bohemian Connecticut family during the holidays, and what a messy holiday it becomes. Everett Stone (Dermot Mulroney) brings his new girlfriend Meredith (Sarah Jessica Parker) to meet his family, but upon arrival, it’s abundantly clear that she doesn’t fit in and hasn’t won the approval of his parents Sybil (Diane Keaton) and Kelly (Craig T. Nelson). She calls on her sister Julie (Claire Danes) for backup, but they soon make matters worse as relationships are tested (and swapped!) and fights erupt.
While The Family Stone divided critics upon release, the movie raked in about $92 million worldwide. And coming off her Sex and the City success, Sarah Jessica Parker landed a Golden Globe for her role. Like its titular family, the film has some flaws, but since its mid-aughts release, The Family Stone has been a low-key cult favorite and undeniably one of the best Christmas movies of all time.