FilmReview

Review: ‘This Is Where I Leave You’ Has An Abundance of Humor & Heart

Shannon O’Connor ’16 / Emertainment Monthly Editor-in-Chief

Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Adam Driver and Corey Stoll in This Is Where I Leave You. Photo Credit: Nicole Rivelli/Warner Bros. Pictures.
Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Adam Driver and Corey Stoll in This Is Where I Leave You. Photo Credit: Nicole Rivelli/Warner Bros. Pictures.

This Is Where I Leave You puts the fun in dysfunctional.

The film, based on Jonathan Tropper’s (Banshee) novel of the same name, revolves around the lives of the Altman family, the middle son Judd (Jason Bateman) in particular, over the course of a week.

After the death of their father, siblings Wendy (Tina Fey), Paul (Corey Stoll), Judd (Bateman) and Phillip (Adam Driver) are forced by their mother (Jane Fonda) to stay under one roof for a week as part of their father’s dying wish.

Adam Driver, Corey Stoll, Tina Fey and Jason Bateman in This Is Where I Leave You. Photo Credit: Jessica Miglio/Warner Bros. Pictures.
Adam Driver, Corey Stoll, Tina Fey and Jason Bateman in This Is Where I Leave You. Photo Credit: Jessica Miglio/Warner Bros. Pictures.

Throughout this week, the estranged family comes together to work through the darkest moments life has handed them. The Altman family is, at its simplest form, dysfunctional. Despite their fighting and lingering resentment, the Altmans are a family full of people learning to cope with the messiness of life in many different ways – yet they always manage to stick together no matter what.

Jason Bateman shines in one of his greatest roles to date as the Altman family’s middle son who not only is dealing with the death of his father, but also going through a bitter divorce from his wife (Abigail Spencer) who he caught cheating with his boss (Dax Shepard). With the help of his siblings, especially his sister Wendy, Judd begins to come to terms with his current predicament and starts searching for his own happiness in life.

Tina Fey and Jason Bateman in This Is Where I Leave You. Photo Credit: Jessica Miglio/Warner Bros. Pictures.
Tina Fey and Jason Bateman in This Is Where I Leave You. Photo Credit: Jessica Miglio/Warner Bros. Pictures.

Although Bateman commands the majority of screen time, the stand-out is Tina Fey who flexes serious drama muscles as the sister stuck in a loveless marriage while still pining for her first love (Timothy Olyphant). Fey generously contributes to the uproarious nature of the film; however the vulnerability she emits during her more serious scenes proves there is so much pain underneath her character’s humor.

Even though family dramedies have been done and overdone throughout the years, This Is Where I Leave You brings something new to the genre. With a cast full of relatable characters, the film never feels like a chore to watch; instead audiences will feel so welcomed into the Altman family that by the end of the film they will not only walk away with an overwhelming sense of optimism, but a longing to visit the Altmans again sometime soon.

Overall Grade: B+

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