The Fitzgerald Family Christmas is a 2012 film starring Kerry Bishé, Connie Britton and Edward Burns; written and directed by Edward Burns.
Edward Burns plays Gerry, the oldest son in a family of eight who has taken over the patriarch role of keeping his family together after their father walked out on them 20 years ago. The movie opens a couple days before Christmas, as Gerry trys to round up all his brothers and sisters to show up at their home sometime for their mother’s birthday. The young Sharon (played by Bishé) and older Quinn (played by Michael McGlone) have both decided to go to the Hamptons with their significant others (Sharon dating a much older guy, Quinn dating a much younger woman) instead. Erin isn’t feeling up to it after her boyfriend hears some bad news about a job, Dottie can’t make it because she’s shacking up with her gardener, and Erin is too busy taking care of her kid. Gerry ends up being the only one who can make it to mom’s (Rosie) house. He had planned to discuss the possibility of allowing their father to come over for Christmas dinner, despite Rosie swearing he’d never step foot in the house again after walking out on them.
Gerry learns the next day after speaking with their father that he was so insistent on coming over because he’s dying of pancreatic cancer and it will be his last Christmas. He regrets walking out on the family, and realizes he deserves all the ill will his family has for him, but as his time is coming to a close he’s attempting to make amends.
I don’t feel like I need to really summarize the plot any further, because it’s pretty predictable. The Fitzgerald Family Christmas is a fairly typical holiday movie. Cold hearts are warmed in the spirit of the holidays, wrongs are forgiven, and everyone learns about the importance of family. Gerry somewhat resents his role of taking care of everyone, but realizes that deep down he loves it because he loves his family. Dad gets to spend his last Christmas with the family, sibling rivalries are overlooked, and everyone lives happily ever after. I almost wish there weren’t as many characters, as I felt that there were some more interesting stories to be told with just a few. The love interest between Gerry and Nora (played by Britton) is fun to watch and could’ve used more time giving it a better context in the rest of the story. However, the chaos that results from all the characters gives the emotional scarring of dad walking out more weight.
There’s nothing that particularly stands out about The Fitzgerald Family Christmas, but if you’re looking for a holiday film that isn’t geared towards kids (at all, there’s quite a bit of swearing and adult themes) with a tone a little more along the lines of The Family Stone than It’s A Wonderful Life, then it should fit the bill pretty well.