Sunday, January 22, 2006

The Family Stone

cast: claire danes, diane keaton, rachel mcadams, luke wilson, dermot mulroney. sarah jessica parker (to name a few)

could the very first movie of the year i get to watch be 2006’s best movie of the year? well let’s anticipate the competition or maybe in this case, the lack thereof.

the star wars series is over; the next spiderman will most likely fall short. “i may be wrong. but i doubt it” (charles barkley). my main man tom cruise has another “mission impossible” but his movies, with rare exceptions (e.g. “vanilla sky”) are not about good stories but more about shallow visual pleasures. so i guess that leaves us with “walk the line” and “north country”. a couple of movies worth looking forward to if only to feed our desire or maybe fan the dying flame of our will to continuously live our miserably pitiful and pathetic lives.

so what’s so special about “the family stone”? well, let’s start with the fact that the beauteous claire danes is a major playa in the film. this is the same girl who, while filming a previous film called “brokedown palace” here in the philippines, trashed the country calling it a very dirty place. she had other negative comments but this is the only one i could recall as of the moment. i point this out as many filipinos – especially in cyberspace – were angered by her remarks when she was only expressing her opinion which, by the way was the plain truth.

but how can we hope to improve ourselves if we can’t first accept our mistakes and shortcomings? how can we attempt to clean the country if we don’t see it as dirty in the first place? it’s as if we have an immature concept of nationalism. it’s like no one has a right to criticize anything filipino. no foreigner can put us down …… as we are already pulling each other down. but i say we should at least attempt to listen to these famous and illustrious foreign dignitaries and take what they say constructively. who knows what we might learn if we keep an open mind and set aside our sensitive egos and false sense of pride.

but what has this have to do about the movie? well, the fact that we still show claire danes movies, as opposed to banning them, goes a long way in showing our ability to forgive – a very mature trait. either that or we’re just amnesiacs. whichever reason it may be, i believe it worked out for the best.

now to the gist of the movie. dermot mulroney thinks he loves sarah jessica parker. dermot brings sarah to his family’s home for christmas. dermot asks his mother for his grandma’s wedding ring so he can propose to sarah. (the title “the family stone” has a double meaning: dermot’s family’s last name and his grandma’s proverbial wedding ring.) dermot’s mother who, unknown to everyone except her husband is dying of a terminal disease, refuses as she sees that her son is not really in love with sarah. in the meantime, sarah feels antagonized by dermot’s sister, rachel, thus prompting her to call her own sister, claire so they can both spend the christmas holidays at a nearby inn. to make matters more complicated, dermot’s brother, luke falls for sarah while dermot falls for sarah’s sister, claire. i could go on but it might sound like the popular, local movie “jologs” – something “the family stone” is not even if this reviewer has not watched (and has no intention of watching) the former movie.

the message of the movie or maybe in this case, how i like to take the movie out of context is that love happens in the unlikeliest places and the unlikeliest moments. love is not something you force or simulate. the more you anticipate or work for love, the more it’s not going to happen. love just happens. simple as that.

so what is the best advice for people who are desperately trying to snatch a partner so they can pretend to be happy and in love the rest of their lives? the simple, unadulterated answer is that there are many forms of love where people can sincerely immerse themselves. there’s love for god, love for neighbor, love for children, love for celebrities, love for sports, love for books, love for music, love for pets, love for movies, love for cooking, love for gardening, love for nature, love for traveling, and i could go on and on and there would be no end to this review. what i’m trying to say is that not everybody is meant for married life. seeing a lot of our friends and acquaintances getting married shouldn’t pressure us to get married. our mistake lies in the fact that we feel we NEED and HAVE TO get married so we settle for the first person available even if there’s no real love involved.

remember, a lot of people are not good-looking even if many want to be; many want to be rich even if only a few can attain great material wealth; many want to be famous even if a lot are ignored; many want to become nba players when numerous kids can’t even make their high school basketball teams; many want to be michael jordan when there’s only ONE michael jordan.

in the same way, many want to get married even if not all are suppose to get married. get married only for love. to settle for anything less is complete suicide.

rating: 5 of 5 stars * * * * *
claire danes rocks!


rmacapobre said...

shallow visual pleasures

thats a perfect way to put it.

lets be on the watch for these kinds of films and point it out to the rest. there are many of them out there. regular folks are easily mersmerized by the fireworks. but wed like to think of ourselves immune.

rob said...

Hey Roehl, nicely put, a bit offtopic to the movie but still I like the thoughts. False sense of pride, nice. I also thought the negative reaction to Claire Danes' previous comments on the country was a bit of an overreaction.

The concept of a reality-based approach to life, where one tells it like it is. My favorite line is: "Many want to be Michael Jordan... when there's only one Michael Jordan." Maybe that's the secret of true success. Having the 'reality' habit, limiting self-deception and having the correct interpretation of reality.

By the way, I've only seen trailers for this movie but I'm liking Rachel McAdams character.