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THE FITZGERALD FAMILY CHRISTMAS Movie Review

The Fitzgerald Family Christmas poster: © 2012 Tribeca Film.

Release Dates: Dec. 7, 2012 (Theatrical), Nov. 21, 2012 (VOD)
Rated: NR || Running Time: 103 minutes

In The Fitzgerald Family Christmas, writer/director Edward Burns renews his vows to the love of his artistic life: the working-class, Irish Catholic family.

Also featured in his first and second films—The Brothers McMullen (1995) and She’s the One (1996)—the families of Burns’ creation are composed of volatile and flappable members united by seemingly unbreakable bonds. Even when one member sins against another, the family stands at the ready to forgive and move forward. It is as if, in the worlds according to Burns, there is no earthly force that can tear asunder what the highest power has joined by familial ties.

Burns puts those ties to the test once again in The Fitzgerald Family Christmas, as seven siblings preparing to reunite for Christmas with their mother unexpectedly find themselves divided by one of their own: their long-absent father and his desire to join them for the holiday.


Still of Ed Lauter & Michael McGlone in The Fitzgerald Family Christmas. Photo by William Rexer. © 2012 Tribeca Film.

The Fitzgerald Family Christmas stars Edward Burns, Kerry BishéConnie BrittonHeather BurnsMarsha Dietlein BennettCaitlin FitzGeraldAnita GilletteTom GuiryEd LauterMichael McGloneNick Sandow, and Noah Emmerich, with appearances by Joyce Van PattenDara ColemanMalachy McCourtDaniella PinedaJohn Solo, and Brian D’Arcy James.

Burns has a special talent for creating family dynamics that look and feel real—and not just in the ‘you’ve seen people just like them bicker just like that’ kind of way. The Fitzgeralds are made lifelike by the small stuff: the everyday ways in which they support each other, the hell-hath-no-fury manner in which they spring to one another’s defense, and their well-intentioned willingness to call each other’s bullshit. And they do not merely pay lip service to these traits. Rather, it is in this arena that the cast shows their immense talent and makes it easy to forget that they are not, in fact, related. Each actor effortlessly combines distinctive and shared mannerisms to bring their respective Fitzgerald to life, both as an individual and as part of a larger whole.

The Fitzgerald family catharsis further highlights Burns’ emotional artistry. No man or woman is left behind as Burns skillfully uses each family member to help another realize that putting the past behind them is the only way to move forward. Some will need to learn how to share their burdens, and others to be more self-sufficient, but none are left with any doubt about who will be there to help along the way.


Still of Connie Britton and Edward Burns in The Fitzgerald Family Christmas.
Photo by William Rexer. © 2012 Tribeca Film.

Fans of Burns’ unique style and voice will adore The Fitzgerald Family Christmas. For first-time Burns viewers, The Fitzgerald Family Christmas is likely to inspire immediate exploration of his prior works and eager anticipation for his future films.

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The Fitzgerald Family Christmas is now available to rent on VOD and iTunes.

Official Website || Facebook: Edward Burns || Twitter: @edward_burns || Twitter: #fitzmas

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Sarah Katz

Sarah Katz

Born-and-bred New Yorker. Lifelong film & TV lover—from chick flicks, rom-coms, rom-droms, rom-drams, and tweentertainment, to Shakespeare, period pieces, James Bond, fairy tales, and mafia movies.