I just returned from a screening of the soon-to-be-released flick, The Family Stone with Out in Television & Film, a group to promote gay and lesbian people in the television and film industries. There is much that I have to say about the film, largely positive. To be sure, there were a few clunky and clichéd scenes and one really irritating scene (because it seemed way too p.c.) involving the gay character, but on the whole, the movie worked, largely because the direction was good and the relationships between the characters were believable. As a man with five brothers and sisters, I believed this family (with one fewer child than my own) was a family.
After bemoaning (just over a month ago) the absence of romantic chemistry in a number of recent films, it’s nice to discover a film where there actually is chemistry between the actors. In the Q & A afterward with Director Thomas Bezucha, a number of people commented on that. I wasn’t the only one who believed the relationships (though I daresay the others didn’t come from as large a family as do I!).
He got all the relationships right, including the gay one. I believed these two men were a loving couple. And instead of shining a light on them and saying, “Look, people, we have a gay couple in my movie, isn’t this cool?” he just treated them as part of the family which is as it should be. I haven’t seen this done so well in a straight romantic comedy since Four Weddings and a Funeral. (Well, then, the gay couple was more part of a group of friends than a family.)
Just before coming to the event, I recalled that Bezucha had directed one of my two or three favorite gay movies, Big Eden, another flick which gets the relationships right. If you haven’t seen this one already, go out and rent or buy the DVD. You’ll be glad you did.
I may have more to say about the The Family Stone later on, particularly that irritating scene as well as interesting comment the director made afterwards, but for now, I’ll just say, go see the movie, a delightful romantic comedy, ideal for “grown children” to watch with their parents and families (especially during holiday get-togethers). I should note as well, that like me, Bezucha is also a fan of Holiday, a wonderful quirky romantic comedy featuring Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant. I wish they’d release that one on DVD.