THIS IS WHERE I LEAVE YOU Movie Review
This Is Where I Leave You is a movie about family, first and foremost. There is something weird about this season of movies. It’s the poignant family comedy/drama season. First, there was Robert Downey Jr’s The Judge and now we have This Is Where I Leave You. Both movies deal with fractured families coming back together after a death in the family. Now, The Judge goes one way, and This Is Where I Leave You goes another, focusing more on the incredibly complicated relationships of the family and not on a courtroom drama plot right out of Law & Order.
This Is Where I Leave You is all about a family dynamic that has to rebuild itself after the patriarch of the family dies after a long battle with cancer I think, the movie never really goes into his death just his life and his children’s problems. Leading the family now is mother-superior Hillary Altman played luxuriously by Jane Fonda. Her long suffering children, Judd (Jason Bateman), Philip (Adam Driver), Wendy (Tina Fey) and Paul (Corey Stoll) have to spend seven days grieving with her, all under the same roof.
This Is Where I Leave You is quite good overall. I didn’t know anything but the cast for the movie, and when I sat down and watched it, I was pleasantly surprised. Our story is told through the eyes of our four leads, who each bring a fantastic dynamic to the whole movie. Bateman plays his usual affable self, but when the movie hits the midpoint we really start to get that everything that is going on in his life is bearing down on him and is breaking him. With Fey we get some of the most human moments. Her story with Timothy Olyphant’s Horry is beautifully heartbreaking. It was definitely the highlight for me in no small part to Olyphants performance which is soft, subtle, and touching.
The majority of the comedy comes from Driver which is no great surprise, and though he is great, this is nothing new from him and I am worried he is getting typecast. He does have some nice scenes with Bateman but otherwise he is the usual jackass that he plays so well. Stoll sadly gets nothing really to work with except a plot about he and his wife struggling with making a family. It goes nowhere in the overall story except for giving one or two comedic scenes, one forgettable and clichéd and the other thankfully not.
The supporting cast for the most part is decent, like I said previously, Olyphant is a highlight, but love interest Penny, played by Rose Byrne, is quirky in all the wrong places. Fonda is also a mixed bag of fun and awkward “Mom” moments. It feels like she is trying to remind the audience that she is still attractive, and though it works, because she is Jane Fonda, no character should ever have to do that.
The cinematography is nothing that special, there is one scene that feels incredibly out of place and even though it is emotional and well timed, the transition and setting was hard pressed. The soundtrack was sadly forgettable, thinking back now, nothing stands out for me. Some annoying characters, a few clichés and a forgettable soundtrack are among the problem. Luckily, strong leads, an emotional core and a message that is much better delivered than other movies out there, The Judge, This Is Where I Leave You is a fun time at the cinema.