Wednesday, January 04, 2006

CC and "The Family Stone"

Since PG saw "The Family Stone" and reviewed it, I'll review it, too.

I agree with PG that the movie is quite sniffle-worthy in places and I'd seriously like to meet a person who can't identify with Sarah Jessica Parker's character's attemps to get her fiancee's family to like her when they so seriously don't. Now not everyone has done this to the degree I have, having actually set my dinner napkin on fire in the middle of Thanksgiving dinner at my in-laws, but that was after the wedding so they're stuck with me now. (What? I was getting up to get more turkey and I put my dinner napkin next to my plate and the corner caught a votive candle that was part of the centerpiece. Like that hasn't happened to you...)

It's not cinematic genius, but there were some really nice touches to the movie. The fiancee's brother is deaf and the entire family can speak sign language. Occiasionally they sign instead of talking. Speaking as one who tried to suck up to the families of two other serious boyfriends even before the CSO, I can assure you that I can't think of a better metaphor for the in jokes and subtle tension then the family literally using a language that you can't understand.

(Best example, on my first Christmas at the CSO's mother's house, I noted that they had a phrase that they said back and forth a lot that sounded like "Fay yuhnot." I didn't know what was up with that until the following year when I went along to a live Nativity scene they go to every year and the angel with the heavy Georgia accent said "Fear not!")

The movie has a truly twisted moment when Diane Keaton's character says she wishes all her children were gay so she'd never lose them, which has all sorts of nasty implications that were totally ignored, and then SJP responds that surely she wouldn't want her kids to be gay because their lives would be so much harder, which everyone at the dinner table manages to take in the most pre-offended way possible.

The movie also brought home the true effect that previews have. At the end of an emotionally tense moment, SJP's character announces that she's going to go get the casserole-thingy she made out of the fridge. "Oh, no..." A sympathetic voice in my theater cried out. I have never felt a collective tension in a movie theater quite like when SJP was walking over to that fridge, because every one of us had seen the commercial for the movie and we all knew she was going to spill it on herself.

I suppose I should be bitching that it spoiled the movie, but that's the sort of twist I would have seen coming anyway, and for everyone in the audience to KNOW it is going to happen made for a very dramatic collective vibe.


No comments: