If you love dysfunctional holiday films that portray reality, this is it. (the holiday stuff is in the background) If you are sick to death of Smarmy, Gooey "Family" films that make you feel horrible because there's no way your family will ever be like that---this is for you. If your family is really dysfunctional, and you feel totally alone on the holidays, this movie will let you know other people understand.
Everybody shafts each other in the end here..a type of King Lear. I didn't find it really humorous until I thought about it later.
The ugliness of the people's behavior is strongly contrasted against the AMAZING beauty of the landscapes.
The middle-aged dad calls all his kids home around the holidays to have a chat. He's got something to tell. They are licking their chops hoping for an inheritance, money or news that he's selling the family fish processing plant. They think they are going to be RICH! This is the moment they've been waiting for!
(Boy have I seen this before where the kids are handed money all their lives without responsibility and too much trust.)
In fact, one of the sons & his wife are already swindling him, embezzling & trying to sell it out from under him. Another son has for years been taking his father's money for education and been living on it as a musician. Another daughter took the father's money for her education and became a film maker. A self-destructive girl cousin is always hanging around and is obsessively in love with the musician.
All great if you can pay for it, but not one of these adult kids chose a career that is self-supporting. They all think there's more money where that came from.
When they all come back to town, they fall back into the crazy activities that are common, at least to my area of small towns----random, angry sex and drinking. In fact, these kids are seething with anger, even the musician.
Apparently when the Mother was dying, both the parents and the aunt didn't handle things very well...and maybe there's nothing to be done to prevent such rage. Maybe if the parents had discussed her impending death, maybe if the Dad and Aunt had been more assertive and upfront. There was no talking about the dying and death, just the Dad and especially the Aunt acting like servants.
The Dad doesn't want to sell the business because he values the community and people, and he wants the musician---which he thinks has been studying business, to come back and manage. If he sells the business, it will kill the community as it is the main source of income.
Anyway, when the doodie hits the fan, it was nice to see the kids start pillaging the house, as I have seen in my family and others. They think they are getting nothing, so they become animals and steal cheapo crap. It was nice to see that the Dad had a "nice" reward for them in the end too. It was good to see the Aunt finally stand up to the kids.
Other Realistic Holiday films: I would also recommend "Stuart Saves His Family", "Home for the Holidays" and "National Lampoons Christmas Vacation"
Note: if you want to prevent "greed gone beserk" in your family, look into "Incentive Trusts" on the web. Bad stuff happens to a lot of folks, ask them what happened in the family after "money-bags" died, or how did the kids turn out when everything was given not earned. You would be amazed at the stories I have heard or seen.