This is Where I Leave You is a powerful movie, as I’ve told my best friend and several others. I say that it is powerful because it is about a concept that many of us know very clearly; family. Family is something that one simply cannot escape (at least, something we can’t escape very easily). They will grate on us to the point where we are pulling our hair out (some people might even do this literally), they’ll tease us in front of the people we like because they can (and they have ALL the good dirt you know!), we’ll fight with them all the time (especially if you’re siblings, it’s like a prerequisite or something!), but in the end family is (hopefully!) always by your side when it counts.
This movie has a cast full of actors we all know, some more famous than others (though those whom we don’t know as well are making a name for themselves faster than bread can rise!). The dynamic between Jane Fonda, Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Corey Stoll, and Adam Driver play the Altman family and they do it so well you might even imagine your own dysfunctional family up there.
Jason Bateman plays Judd Altman, a man who is kind and compassionate towards his employees, plans his life out to the detail, and comes home one day to find is wife is sleeping with his boss (…okay, maybe family won’t always be on YOUR side). Devastated, Judd becomes a sort of recluse for a few months. Corey Stoll is Paul, the oldest brother and, because this is also some sort of prerequisite I suppose, is the one who has his shit together aside from the fact that he and his wife haven’t been able to have children yet (also don’t mention that his wife, played by Kathryn Hahn, once dated his brother Judd). Tina Fey is the only sister, Wendy, and is involved with a man who could simply be described as asshole and left at there, with two children (one who is so damn funny you’ll easily be able to pick him out), but is in love with her old next door neighbor even though their relationship went up in flames years ago. Then there is Adam Driver who play the youngest sibling (There I am!) who is the screw up (maybe not!) and doesn’t have his shit together (thank god for college!). Their personal lives are only a facet of this story as the death of their father is what brought them all back together for the next seven days to sit Shiva.
The supporting cast, which allows this film to branch out and show that quirky people exist everywhere, includes Timothy Olyphant, Rose Byrne, Connie Britton, Dax Shepard, Abigail Spencer, and Debra Monk. They each serve to fill us in on personal details about the characters from an outside perspective (some of which can be turned on them by one their siblings). They, and others, are an eclectic bunch and spice up the movie in fun and entertaining way.
This is Where I Leave is a powerful movie, it can distract you from the problems of your own family and possibly realize they may not be that bad (or point out that they’re so bad therapy isn’t a desire but a necessity). It can be funny and sharp in the most obscure way and for that I believe this film to be a gem.