This Is Where I Leave You--Directed by Shawn Levy/screenplay by Jonathan Tropper, based upon his novel/starring Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Adam Driver, Rose Byrne, Corey Stoll, Kathryn Hahn, Connie Britton, Timothy Olyphant, Dax Shepard, and Jane Fonda/ rated R/ 103 minutes.
Bifocal Review by Ageless1der Barbara Rich & The Other Guy
(BR): This comedy, is about a dysfunctional family. And, whose family isn’t, in some way? The family reunites for the death of their father, who requests a shiva, even though he was not Jewish, just as a means to keep the family together for seven days (shiva, apparently means seven in Hebrew). That is Where I Leave You, gives you a peek at the individual children’s odd situations. Jason Bateman is one of the most underrated actors. I hope this film convinces the right people of his unique talent. Someone else to look at is the sibling played by Adam Driver. He is kind of a Jeff Goldblum character, only hotter. All the acting was spot on, but these two really stood out for me, and that is saying something since the rest of the troop consisted of actors like Jane Fonda, Tina Fey, Timothy Olyphant, etc. Rose Byrne is well-known to me from one of my favorite series, Damages. I love to laugh, and this comedy provided ample opportunities. I think the ending provided a twist, of sorts, that was unnecessary, but maybe this was based upon some true family story. If this is not your family, you certainly know of one just like this. This film merits four healthy binoculars.
(OG): Let me begin by saying that this movie was a winner for me. I’ve already recommended it to people whose personal tastes in film was not a concern for me. My recommendation is based purely on a personal gut feeling. This Is Where I Leave You, struck home for many. I’m from a family of five children, the second to the youngest overall and the youngest boy of two. This is not the exact same mix of siblings as in the movie, but the release comes at a similar time for my family as the one, which is portrayed (perfectly I might add) by Bateman, Fey, Driver, Hahn, and Stoll. In the movie, the father of this brood has just died—in the midst of the usual personal problems for the children—and Jane Fonda is the mother. My mother passed away last year at the end of September, one week before her 93rd birthday. My father especially (he’ll be 95 in December) and all the kids are still in the midst of mourning—all of us in our own weird ways, and with our own baggage, as in the film. Even though we are not living close by, we all still love one another and had a special relationship with our parents…not unlike EVERY family and every set of siblings, from every culture in the world. I’m not sure how much of Tropper’s story is fact-based, but he got so much of the relationships right that I hope for his sake that this is his family. Another reason the story seemed real is because it had a couple of left turns that were unnecessary for me. However, there is no question that This is Where I Leave You will stay with me (and you) for a long time. I give this one Four and ½ binoculars out of five.