This Is Where I Leave You (2014)

This Is Where I Leave You – Welcome home. Get uncomfortable.

Thisiswhere

Jason Bateman———————————————–Judd Altman
Tina Fey——————————————————-Wendy Altman
Jane Fonda—————————————————-Hilary Altman
Adam Driver————————————————-Phillip Altman
Rose Bryne—————————————————Penny Moore
Timothy Olyphant——————————————-Horry Collin
Corey Stall—————————————————-Paul Altman
Katheryn Hahn———————————————–Allice Altman

Directed by Shawn Levy.
Screenplay by Jonathan Tropper.
Based on the Novel by Jonathan Tropper.

We have watched Jason Bateman on television and in movies for over thirty years and I believe he is more than ready to take the lead in a movie. For the last few years we have watched him play the loveable loser in movies like Hancock, The Switch, Couples Retreat, Extract, and Horrible Bosses. In this movie we see a side of Jason Bateman that screams maturity and proves this man can act.

When Judd Altman (Bateman) comes home early from work he finds his wife cheating on him and speaking of horrible bosses. He loses his job, wife, and father in a little over two weeks. His fathers’ last wish was for his family to “sit shiva” which in Judaism is a week long period of mourning. The family is made up of three brothers, one sister, and their mother Hilary Altman (Fonda). The family is far from perfect and we see their inner turmoil as each character reveals their problems.

The writing by Jonathan Tropper is excellent because he lets each character have their moment to shine.  He has a family “sitting shiva” even though they had a Christmas tree growing up. The family does not appear to be religious but when Judd Altman goes to see Penny Moore (Byrne) he lays on the ground and gives Penny a confession about his life. These situations set up some good laughs and gives the characters great moments to draw us in. The director Shawn Levy allows the audience to figure things out on their own, rather than spelling out each intricate detail. He gives us credit for understanding these complex and wonderful characters.

Judd Altman gets more than he bargained for when his wife shows up unannounced. His sister Wendy (Fey) figures he will wind up back with his wife because he doesn’t like complicated and “divorces are complicated”. We watch as he struggles with a full range of emotions and tries to maintain his composure, but his family does not make this easy.

The cast is outstanding with Fonda, Fey, Stall, and even Olyphant delivering great moment after great moment. For me, Adam Driver brought life to the movie, which his character was meant to do, but his performance stood out in a movie full of great performances. He was funny, believable, crazy, and several times created some touching moments that seem to catch us by surprise. Jason Bateman was able to rise to the occasion and lead this group of actors with some strong comedic skills and some incredible dramatic moments. His character has some reflective, serious, funny, strange, awkward moments and his performance conveyed it perfectly.

“This is Where I Leave You” touches on some serious family issues and gives us a few laughs along the way. It is a movie that I enjoyed throughout and completely recommend. As I watched this film I realized that it wasn’t really structured like a standard Hollywood movie and I think that made this movie more enjoyable. I like when a movie is not so predictable you know what will happen before it does.

For Jason Bateman I would like to see him take a shot at some serious roles. Maybe a small independent movie where he could play a strong lead character and give himself the opportunity to truly show his acting ability. I think that there is a very good actor hiding in some comedies today.

Follow Chris Clarke on Twitter.

Runtime: 103 Minutes

Production Budget: $19,800,000.

Box Office
Domestic: Not Finished Run Yet.
Worldwide: Not Finished Run Yet.

CC Rating: 8 out of 10

Screenplay: I could not find the screenplay.

Directors’ Previous Movies: Real Steel, Night at the Museum, The Internship.

If you liked this try: Horrible Bosses, Terms of Endearment, A Good Year.