Despite overwhelmingly mediocre reviews from just about everybody, I want to say that I am a huge fan of this film adaptation of “This is Where I Leave You.” Personally I don’t even understand why some people did not enjoy the film, I mean it is actually quite familiar on an extremely profound level that modern people can relate to.
From the drama, the conflict and the love to the subtle humor, the film addresses the complications and the dysfunctions that take place in all of our societies, no matter which culture we come from. The character relationships are not overtly dramatic, and are portrayed extremely well by an ensemble of some of the best comics and actors today.
The film follows the Altman family as they gather to observe the Jewish custom of Shiva, where a family unites and sits for seven days to mourn the passing of their loved one. The catch being that the Altman family is not Jewish at all.
At the center of the story is Judd Altman, (Jason Bateman), the second son of the Altman family and a seemingly down to earth nice-guy who leaves home early one day to surprise his wife on their anniversary. To his surprise, Judd finds his dearly beloved in the midst of an affair with his friend and boss. Following a downward spiral of self-loathing and depression, Judd is contacted by his sister Wendy (Tina Fey) to return home for his father’s funeral.
From there, the film takes its audience on a roller coaster ride of emotions observed in various relationship dynamics. Starting with the dysfunctional family that all four of the Altman children share with their psychologist mother Hilllary (Jane Fonda) to sibling rivalries and romance, the film presents conflicts that most people today would acknowledge; however, they still opt to not talk it through.
One other aspect of the film which I admire is the focus and development of individual supporting characters. Instead of completely narrating the story through Judd’s perspective, the film takes scenes from other characters’ points of view.
I am not saying that the film is a masterpiece, but to me personally, the story has the ability to connect with the audience through its use of common relationship situations and performances from comedians and actors that are great at their craft. Honestly, even though I acknowledge that this the film is not a must-see my any means, I left the theater feeling that I wanted more of the laughter and drama that I took away from “This Is Where I Leave You.”