Thomas Bezucha’s wry, sharp comedy drama looks at a family in upheaval at Christmas. Everett Stone (Dermot Mulroney) brings his fiancee Meredith Morton (Sarah Jessica Parker) to his family home for the festive season. Matriarch Sybil Stone (Diane Keaton) doesn’t approve of her and leads the family attack on Meredith, but cracks start to appear in the family’s own relationship, and painful, occasionally amusing truths appear.
Bezucha’s smart script is superbly delivered by an A-list cast, with Luke Wilson as Ben Stone, Everett’s brother, excellent as the first in the family to warm to Meredith. Meredith herself initially is less than warm, with a prickly veneer of sharp putdowns her protection against attacks, but as the film proceeds, both she and the Stones begin to thaw. But when Meredith’s sister Julie (Claire Danes) turns up, the emotional balance of power shifts dramatically and surprisingly.
Claire Danes as Julie Morton
Diane Keaton as Sybil Stone
Rachel McAdams as Amy Stone
Dermot Mulroney as Everett Stone
Sarah Jessica Parker as Meredith Morton
Luke Wilson as Ben Stone
Craig T. Nelson as Kelly Stone
Brian J. White as Patrick Thomas
Tyrone Giordano as Thad Stone
Writer and Director: Thomas Bezucha
USA | 103 minutes | 2005