Film and Plot Synopsis
Everett Stone is returning home to his family home in Thayer, Connecticut for the Christmas holiday. He is bringing along his new girlfriend, Meredith Morton, to meet his family. The Stone family is a very liberal family which stands in stark contrast to the uptight, conservative Meredith. Hilarity ensues as Meredith comes into conflict with the Stone family, but also finds herself attracted to Everett’s brother Ben. Will Meredith follow her heart, or will she remain loyal to Everett?
‘The Family Stone’ Movie Summary
Rather than staying at the Everett house, Meredith decides to stay at the local inn. She invites her younger sister Julie (Claire Danes) to stay with her at the inn for moral support. Everett begins to find himself attracted to the much more outgoing and less uptight Julie. Meredith struggles to fit in with the Everett family, and even attempts to engage in a game of charades which ends badly. Everett’s gay, deaf brother Thad (Tyrone Giordano) and his partner Patrick (Brian J. White) discuss their plans to adopt a child during a family dinner. This prompts a discussion about nature versus nurture and sexual orientation, which Meredith clumsily attempts to engage in. Everett’s father Kelly (Craig T. Nelson) quietly but angrily shuts her down.
Devastated, Meredith leaves and attempts to drive back to the inn, but she ends up crashing her car. Everett’s brother Ben (Luke Wilson) comes along and comforts her. The two go to a local bar that is open and begin drinking profusely. Meredith begins to enjoy herself. She encounters Amy’s high school flame and local paramedic, Brad Stevenson (Paul Schneider), and invites him to the Stone’s house for Christmas breakfast the next day. The following morning, Meredith wakes up in Ben’s bed and incorrectly assumes that she had sex with her boyfriend’s brother.
On Christmas morning, the Stone family learns that the matriarch Sybil Stone (Diane Keaton), a breast cancer survivor, has been diagnosed with an aggressive reoccurrence of the disease. Sybil gives Everett his grandmother’s wedding ring after previously refusing to do so before even after Everett has made multiple requests. However, Everett’s feelings are now directed towards Julie and not Meredith. In a moment of confusion, he asks Julie to try on the ring, but it gets stuck on her finger. Meredith and Julie lock themselves in a bathroom and try to remove the ring. They both assume that Everett is about to propose to Meredith, who is still feeling guilty about possibly sleeping with Ben.
The family comes together to exchange gifts. Meredith presents each of the family members with a framed enlarged photograph of Sybil taken when she was pregnant with Amy, unaware of her new cancer prognosis. Everyone is emotionally moved by the gift, which makes Meredith relax slightly. Everett asks to talk to her for a moment, but Meredith tries to avoid the conversation, believing that he is going to propose. She suddenly blurts out that she won’t marry him. Everett reflexively states that he wasn’t going to ask her. Meredith breaks down in front of the entire Stone family. All the personality conflicts come to a head, and everyone begins the process of healing.
One year later, the Stone family reunites at their home again for Christmas. Meredith and Ben are now a couple, as are Everett and Julie. Amy and Brad have rekindled their high school romance, and Thad and Patrick have adopted a baby boy named Gus. Everett’s older sister, Susannah (Elizabeth Reaser), has had a baby since the previous year. The film hints that Sybil has passed away in the preceding year. Her presence is referenced as the family gathers with family Christmas ornaments around the tree. The framed photograph of Sybil is on the wall next to the Christmas tree, and Amy is shown wearing her wedding ring.
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