Well, thanks for the recommendation BRITTANY. I am now sobbing.
I liked this movie and, though I found some things pretty improbable, I think that movies with a lot of familiar faces are fun to watch. This is one of those "Christmas" movies that's not really about the holiday season, but the fact that it is Christmas does drive up the tension tenfold. This movie is very tense as is, but I think that the fact that the entire family was pissed at each other, yet still working to make the day special was very realistic. Somehow, despite our drama, we still work to keep the day sacred, especially if there are kids around.
I won't spoil the movie for those who have yet to watch it, but there are a lot of things hanging in the air while this movie takes place, and it's easy to see the decisions of each person effecting each these things: is the girl right for him? her sister is amazing? is other sister's husband showing up? will mom be okay? is the gay couple the cutest couple ever? (answer, yes.)
…but that's neither here nor there. (unless it's this exact dinner scene, then you got problems.)
The movie starts and ends quite awkwardly, and honestly the whole time I'm just wanting to cradle and coo at little SJP and say, "There, there little Sarah… just relax and calm down and stop being so sensitive." For Sarah's character Meredith, this Christmas vacation was both the best and worst trip in the history of ever. Everything that happens on Christmas Day is so TENSE that I can't even describe it accurately or spoiler-free. Don't get me wrong, it's a funny movie, but those funny moments are knitted so tightly with the tense ones, reminding me that like reality, the tension sometimes never gets the chance to hang in the air very long and instead it's broken up with clumsiness, fighting, and other people walking in on your heavy conversation. It seems a little much to say that the scenes during that morning are artfully written, but it's pretty much chaotic bliss. Much like life within a large family in a small town, you are never alone for too long.
P.S. The MVP awards in this movie go to Claire Danes because she is a goddess all the time, and to the Son-in-Law who actually does show up in the end and is cheerful and great!
Oh okay fine, and Luke Wilson is pretty cool and gets the girl to be herself, I'll give him that. Also this scene is adorable:
"Repeat the sounding joy…"
Lots of Christmas feels,
P.P.S. — In this movie they watch my movie for tomorrow! (I moved some around, and tomorrow I'm watching Meet Me in St. Louis!)