This is Where I Leave You

“This Is Where I Leave You”, which is based on the novel by Jonathan Tropper, follows four grown siblings returning to their childhood home after learning of their father’s passing. Once there, the family must participate in a Shiva, which will leave the siblings living under the same roof with their overbearing mother for one week. During this week-long grieving tradition, the Altman family begin to confront each other’s past, and ponder the what-ifs and maybes of life.

Tina Fey and Jason Batemen in "This is Where I Leave You"

Tina Fey and Jason Batemen in “This is Where I Leave You”

The film is an efficient dramatic comedy that focuses on the strong bonds and problems a family could possibly have. If you come from a family, which I assume most of you do, you will find something to relate to. That is the best quality this movie has to offer. Even though the Altman family is definitely a unique Jewish family facing unique problems and relationships, there are many universal characteristics that will simply make you think of your own family. Among the occasional funny moments, there are lovely sentimental moments that showcases the tender moments of life. “This Is Where I Leave You” leaves you wanting to spend time with you family, but probably not a week’s worth.

Despite the fact that it has a strong message and connection to the audience, there are several flaws found within the film. There are too many moments where the film just feels overly clichéd. It is not the most original dramedy to begin with, but director, Shawn Levy, always seems to find a way to highlight moments that are too familiar with the public. This stretch of the film becomes slightly stale and highly repetitive. Also there are several moments where the film becomes too overstuffed for its own good. In parts it becomes a little clumsy and contains one too many unnecessary character moments. However, whatever problems this movie might have, the terrific, extremely likable cast helps you overlook them.

“This Is Where I Leave You” has an excellent cast that helps elevate the film’s sometimes overused material. The entire cast has fantastic chemistry with one another, and each star is just so likable that you can’t help but enjoy watching all of them interact. The entire cast is spot-on, but there are ultimately three standouts. The always funny Jason Bateman gives a very genuine and heartfelt portrayal of a man who has lost his way. It might be his most demanding performance yet, and Bateman proves that he has the heart for these kinds of roles. The other high point of the film comes from the lovely Tina Fey who delivers her most dramatic performance to date. Playing the elder sibling, Wendy Altman, Fey becomes the voice of wisdom of the crew. Fey is sincere, loving, protective, warm, and welcoming as Wendy. In many ways, her performance along with Bateman’s, forms the glue that hold this film together. As good as the both of them are, the scene stealer and arguably the brightest part of the film is one of the most sought-after young actors in Hollywood right now. Adam Driver was undeniably the funniest part of the film, and was dynamic as his character. He created great depth, and left us wanting more of him.

The movie is a sometimes repetitive and cliché-filled experience, but with the superb cast it most definitely overcomes its shortcomings. Ultimately, “This Is Where I Leave You” is a character-driven film that relies heavily on its great cast to create the most memorable moments of the film. You could do a lot worse than this film. At the end of the day, it has heart and plenty of laughs, which will leave you feeling more than satisfied.

The cast includes: Jason Bateman (Horrible Bosses), Tina Fey (Admissions), Adam Driver (Girls), Corey Stoll (House of Cards), Jane Fonda (Monster-In-Law), and Rose Byrne (Neighbors). It was written by Jonathan Tropper and directed by Shawn Levy (The Internship).

3 out of 4 stars

-By Louie Coruzzolo

In case you missed this week’s video review which includes reviews on Tusk, The Maze Runner, This Is Where I Leave You, and A Walk Among the Tombstones, here it is below:

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One Response to This is Where I Leave You

  1. […] way. The comedy aspect feels like it is just getting in the way of the raw emotions from the drama. “This Is Where I Leave You” is a comedy-drama. A movie that is light-hearted and offers heavy humor, but this movie is a drama […]

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