This Is Where I Leave You

this is where i leave youThis Is Where I Leave You centers around the Altman family who are dealing with the death of the family’s father. Judd Altman is having a particularly difficult time as he discovers just before his father’s death that his wife is cheating on him with his boss. After learning of the father’s passing, the family gathers at the parent’s home to participate in a Jewish tradition known as a Shiva, which is basically a week of mourning as loved ones gather to show support. Ironically, the family’s not really Jewish…

Once the family gathers, the drama that follows this kind of situation comes along to expose all those raw nerves that sometimes is just part of being around your family. Each family member has their own issues of course, with Judd (played by Jason Bateman) leading the way in terms of bad luck. Luckily, there is some light at the end of the tunnel for the family as they work together through the mourning process and resolve some differences along the way.

This is your traditional family drama with some comedic moments along the way. No big surprises but some nice unexpected points here and there. The dialog is well crafted and suits the characters, cleverly written as well. While the premise isn’t original, the delivery has it’s own sense of style and convention. There’s even some metaphor thrown in there as well with the youngest member of the family seeming to be the only one who has his shit together (once you see the film, you’ll understand that I just made a really slick pun there).

The actors are all top notch. Jason Bateman plays the broken lead in a convincing way while Tina Fey shows range as the concerned, obsessive sister. Jane Fonda is as fun and fearless as ever and it was cool to see Timothy Olyphant play a role unsual for him as well as Fey’s handicapped ex. The entire lineup is strong all around and is rounded out by Adam Driver, Dax Shepard, Connie Britton, Corey Stoll, Rose Byrne and Kathryn Hahn.

I would recommend this one if you like family dramas with some comedy sprinkled in there too.

reviewed by Sean McKnight