Anyone with siblings, parents, former high school flames or in a relationship will likely find something relatable in the new movie This Is Where I Leave You. The movie, written by Jonathan Tropper, based on his novel of the same name, takes a look at the Altman family, who, at the dying request of their father (or so they are told), are forced to “sit Shiva.” Meaning, they are essentially all made to return to their childhood home and live under the same roof once again for seven days. For an average family this would likely be a tough task, but for the Altmans, this task proves even more difficult by the fact that each sibling, and even their mother, is full of secrets. Brave faces only last so long and before they reach day two, secrets, failings, grudges and more bubble to the surface leaving audiences with a few laughs, a few tears and a lot of head nodding — as in “yup, we’ve all been there.” This Is Where I Leave You has a star-studded cast including Tina Fey, as the wise, older sister Wendy; Adam Driver as the baby/ family screw up Phillip; Corey Stoll as oldest brother Paul; Jane Fonda as mother and child expert Hillary; and Jason Bateman as Judd, the middle brother, who has just recently discovered his wife has been having an affair with his loud-mouth, shock-jock boss Wade, played by Dax Shepard. Rounding out the cast are Kathryn Hahn as Paul’s wife, who is dealing with infertility woes; Rose Byrne, who plays Judd’s long-lost love, the sometimes zany Penny Moore; Connie Britton, who plays Phillip’s cougar girlfriend and Timothy Olyphant, who plays Wendy’s former boyfriend Horry, who suffered a massive head injury years ago when the two were in a tragic car accident. Bateman plays the perfect self-defeating, loveable Judd. Fonda is hilarious and lovable as the breast-implant wielding, over-bearing mother and Fey is a great, wiser, older and bit bitter to the realities of life, sister. The entire cast is spot-on. The movie is full of laughs, but be prepared to shed a few tears as well. Without a doubt the family dynamics will ring a bell with some audience members, while others may walk away thanking their lucky stars for their dysfunctional families. Most of all, This Is Where I Leave You is full of heart. It reminds us that while families all have their issues, family is family and to forget or abandon yours won’t do you any good, especially when you’re down and out. The film reminds us that sometimes complicated is a good thing. Life is going to throw twists and turns at you, but it’s who you lean on and what you do when things don’t go your way, that truly matter.
Emily Caswell is the Managing Editor of CAWLM. She has a passion for fun, family, friends, shopping sprees, cold drinks and Lansing.