This is Where I Leave You (2014) Review {by R.T. Ewell}

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Before I start this review it comes with a bit of a warning. You will probably not like this movie if you are a happy person that is oblivious to the hardships that life can sometimes throw at us. I know people who think a movie like this is just a depressing, drama filled mess. Trust me though, it’s not. What the movie is about, is trying to make the right decisions as adults and ultimately making the wrong ones which have to be dealt with.

We follow the Altman family as they come together for the first time in ages under the sad circumstances of the death of their father. Per his wishes they are to spend seven days together as a family. It’s never really convincing why they would have to stay together to me and there are a lot of Jewish customs in this movie that I was unaware of. That is part of my ignorance but I am just not familiar with the religion and they don’t take the time to explain a few of the parts and I wish they would have.

Jane Fonda is at the head of this somewhat dysfunctional family playing the mother who shares a bit too much of everything. While the children are played by Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Corey Stoll, and Adam Driver. The thing that this movie does well is that it makes me believe that all of these people are related, due to the wonderful chemistry they all have together. Each of them have their own issues that they eventually have to deal with throughout the movie.

While one is going through a divorce due to an affair in their marriage, another one is going through a loveless one. There are a variety of these type of issues and I believed, that in many of the circumstances, that they are handled fairly realistically.

Jason Bateman is the primary focus as the one going through the most, as his wife cheated on him with his boss, in which he also lost his job. Of course there is also a side story with him and a romantic interest but it isn’t the main storyline. He does a great job and his character is instantly relatable. I was also surprised at how good the chemistry was between him and the Tina Fey character. I really believed they were brother and sister. The way they leaned on each other while at other times getting on each other’s nerves. Corey Stoll is also in this one and does a great job. I have always like him since I saw him in House Of Cards.

Now, the story does get a tad crazy as a lot of drama occurs but it at no point feels unbelievable. At times it’s heartbreaking because people don’t have the neat end you might have hoped. Ultimately, what the movie is about is relationships. Whether it’s a family relationship, a marriage, or something else, this movie does a great job dissecting each one. I particularly liked Bateman and Fey’s talks together that they had on top of the roof. At times, there is some amazing advice that they discuss, that could help other people going through similar situations.

There is also a fun cast of supporting characters including Dax Shepard and Timothy Olyphant. Shepard plays the part of a jerk rather perfectly, as he so often does, while Olyphant’s character is something completely different.  His character of Horry Callen is somewhat of a mystery although they do give a simple explanation. I was fascinated with the relationship between him and Tina Fey but unfortunately they never really go further than a little bit of on-screen time. I would have loved to have known more about their past instead of just a short snippet.

I don’t think this is going to be a movie for everybody. It’s more of a drama than a comedy but there are some very funny parts to it. Some people might feel bogged down by all the situations that are going on but isn’t that what life is about? This movie isn’t as much of an escape as some movies are but maybe it might help someone with issues that they have going on. I am not sure if this is one that will watch often but I am glad that I watched it at this point in my life.

-R.T.

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