Familiar Strangers (2008) - Rotten Tomatoes

Familiar Strangers (2008)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

A dysfunctional family from rural Virginia contends with conflict, ritual, and communication as the grown-up son who has moved away and kept his distance returns home to spend Thanksgiving weekend with the parents and siblings he once left behind in director Zackary Adler's offbeat comedy. When Brian Worthington (Shawn Hatosy) left home some years ago, he and his father, Frank (Tom Bower), weren't exactly on the best of terms. Time doesn't necessarily heal all wounds, and when Frank lost the ability to connect with his maturing children, he began replacing them with pets that would never "grow up" and always remain loyal. Now that Brian has returned, it doesn't take him long to realize not much has changed: his mother, Dottie (Ann Dowd), is still the glue that holds them together, his twentysomething brother, Kenny (DJ Qualls), still hasn't struck out on his own, and his sister, Erin (Cameron Richardson), is struggling to recover from a messy divorce while raising her young daughter, Maddy (Georgia Mae Lively), who seems to possess an unusual wisdom for her age. As the big donkey basketball game draws near, Brian reconnects with pretty family friend Allison (Nikki Reed) and gets pressured into killing the one member of the family that his father seems to love more than his own flesh and blood -- the family dog Argus.more
Rating: PG-13 (for brief strong language)
Genre: Drama, Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: John Bell
In Theaters:
On DVD: Nov 17, 2009
Cavalier Films - Official Site


Nikki Reed
as Allison
Shawn Hatosy
as Brian Worthington
Tom Bower
as Frank
Ann Dowd
as Dottie
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Familiar Strangers

Critic Reviews for Familiar Strangers

All Critics (5) | Top Critics (1)

Good intentions and huggable canines go only so far in the face of a predictable script and casting so random that everyone involved seems barely part of the same species, let alone the same family.

Full Review… | March 6, 2009
Dallas Morning News
Top Critic

Subdued yet entertaining...

Full Review… | July 17, 2011
Reel Film Reviews

Though admirably modest and understated...it has a lot to be modest about.

Full Review… | March 8, 2009
One Guy's Opinion

Familiar is right.

November 26, 2008
Kansas City Star

One assumes writer John Bell isn't plagued with a family full of neurotics like, say, Noah Baumbach, so while his movie manages to rise above cliche, it doesn't have very far to go beyond that.

Full Review… | July 1, 2008
Film Threat

Audience Reviews for Familiar Strangers

The end of this film is rather effective, and during the last few scenes, I admit that I almost felt something for the characters. But these few moments of pathos do nothing to make up for the sheer boredom (a word I try not to use) of the first hour and fifteen minutes. The characters are remarkably uninteresting with few definable aspects - drawn, one might say, with a blurry pen. The situations are contrived - made up out of cliches. And if this attempts to be a comedy, I can find no discernibly amusing moment. More to the point, whatever happened with the Brian/Allison plot? The only mildly charming character disappears, and the movie sorely misses her and its overall point.

Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

CAST: Shawn Hatosy, D.J. Qualls, Ann Dowd, Tom Bower, Cameron Richardson, Georgia Mae Lively, Nikkie Reed

DIRECTED BY: Zackary Adler

SUMMARY: Brian, who has moved away from his family and kept his distance for the past several years, is reluctantly returning for Thanksgiving despite having an unresolved conflict with his father, Frank. Frank feels he has failed as a father, having lost the ability to connect with his maturing children. The rest of the family includes mother Dottie who holds the reins of the family beneath the surface, brother Kenny who is a twenty-something that has not yet found his path, sister Erin who is struggling to find herself after a painful divorce, and Erin's young daughter Maddy, truly wise beyond her years.

MY THOUGHTS: "Indie Comedy Drama that takes some time to really get rolling as you get to know the characters, and then gets really interesting. I personally liked Kenny. He really brings the laughs. Well I find him funny and most relatable since that is the kind of things I do in my family. I kid the most and make a joke out of every situation. It is a film some can relate to including myself. Some parents really don't know how to make the transition from being a parent to a child to being the parent to an adult. Good story. If you have the patience for the slow start it gives."



Super Reviewer


My type of film... a little nutty, a little real, and a whole lot of funny weirdness. Cute!

Leigh Ryan

Super Reviewer

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