Cancer Movie Review: The Family Stone

Beth Brophy Health Guide
  • Although my sister had warned me it was a movie about a mom who has cancer, and perhaps not the best choice for my afternoon escape, I still went to see The Family Stone. After all, I had seen the trailers and it looked like a frothy romantic comedy. Plus, I think I’m past the point where seeing a movie about a mother with cancer will put me into a funk.

    So here’s what I learned. It didn’t put me in a funk, and the parts of the movie I found fault with had everything to do with the romantic comedy and nothing to do with the cancer storyline. Let me explain without ruining the plot for those who haven’t seen it. (I hate when reviews give away the ending.)
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    For example, Sarah Jessica Parker wasn’t a good match with either of those brothers, but if I had to pick one, it certainly would not have been the brother she wound up with. The caustic sister would never have found happiness with her “Mr. Nice Guy” high school fireman boyfriend. And the gay couple was too good to be true. Last, the ending would have been much stronger if it had been more equivocal -- I prefer a little ambiguity to being hit over the head with a conclusion.

    As for the cancer stuff, it did ring true to me how the mom was trying to shield her adult children from her illness. And how, as in so many real-life families, there are secrets. Some of the siblings ask for, and receive, more information than the others about their mother’s condition. Some siblings try to hide from the plain truth because they don’t want to deal with fear and loss, so they stay in denial more than the others. That happens a lot in real-life, in my experience. The movie seemed to get that stuff right.

    What are some of your favorite and least favorite movies depicting cancer?

Published On: January 10, 2006