“This Is Where I Leave You,” a film based on the beloved book by Jonathan Tropper is an emotional character study film about a family coming together after the death of the patriarch.
Director Shawn Levy plays around with the definition of a dramedy. However, he’s usually known for more lighthearted comedies such as the “Night at the Museum” trilogy, “Cheaper by the Dozen”, “Date Night” and “The Internship.”
The film is marketed as a comedy but it’s more of a drama with lighthearted moments. When it came to the comedy, it strung well throughout the film and never over powered the dramatic tone of the film. The script, written by book author Jonathan Topper, played into the general witty banter that happens amongst grown siblings and parents.
With the film being a character study, there was no real climax or resolution.
Unfortunately you can’t truly examine all the characters in a two hour span. It’s nearly impossible. The film did its best to cover the five main character’s conflicts with depth and ease.
Jason Bateman stars as Judd Altman, a man in his mid 30s trying to deal with divorcing his cheating wife and losing his job, which culminates with the timing of the death of his father. When Altman goes back home to console his mother (Jane Fonda), him and his siblings are obligated by their atheist father’s dying wish to sit shiva, a Jewish mourning tradition in which family members sit for seven days.
Older siblings who were once close, realized how far apart they’ve detached themselves from their home, family and each others.
Phillip Altman, played by incredibly talented Adam Driver, is a character most 20-somethings will find themselves relating too. His character is conflicted with the notion of being an adult with new responsibility but not being able to consistently string that responsibility into all facets of his life.
To be a grown up but not wanting to grow up. It’s an internal conflict we all face.
The film was well executed and successfully utilized the hilarious cast. It’s a refreshing blend of the comedy and drama genres for families with older siblings, who will find themselves relating to the conflicts within each character.