Jason Bateman leads an all-star cast in the comedy-drama This Is Where I Leave You. Available on Netflix now.
The story is centred around four siblings returning to their childhood home after the passing of their aetheist father. His dying wish: that everybody sits shiva, a Jewish tradition whereby the immediate family, share the same home while they mourn for seven days following the burial. It’s a concept that begs hilarity and sure enough, hilarity ensues.
Bateman plays Judd Altman, a radio station producer who we catch up with pre catastrophe. The opening few scenes deliver a series of gut punches that stir up instantaneous sympathy for how his life gets derailed. By the time the film’s core plot unveils itself, we already want to give Judd a hug.
The subsequent funeral introduces us to a wave of familiar faces that make up the Altman family. Adam Driver (Star Wars, Marriage Story) plays Phillip, younger brother and narcissistic man child; Corey Stoll (House of Cards, Ant-Man) plays Paul, the overbearing older brother who takes life far too seriously; Tina Fey (30 Rock, Sisters) plays Wendy, caring straight-talker and wife to her workaholic asshole husband and to top off the ensemble we have Jane Fonda (everything) playing Altman mother Hilary; the wise over-sharer sporting a questionably sexy boob job. The supporting roles are also filled out brilliantly to the point where you’ll be pointing at the screen exclaiming “Everyone’s in this!”
On paper it would be fair to note these character archetypes as cliched and overused. But sometimes, when done correctly, cliches warrant their presence in the movie business which is exactly what we get with Shawn Levy’s 2014 film This Is Where I Leave You.
The film is funny. Watching this dysfunctional struggle to cope with occupying a shared space for only a few days provides heaps of comedy. Bateman is pitch perfect showcasing his signature style of logical thinking door mat that can’t catch a break. Jane Fonda is brash, forthright and the glue that holds it all together. Adam Driver proves once again that his sheer range of acting capabilities seat him among the best of his generation. The entire cast for that matter, all deliver excellent performances with intimate moments scattered throughout as we watch a group of siblings desperately try to maintain some semblance of normality in an abnormal situation.
There’s a real authenticity to how the Altman family act towards one another after a prolonged absence, each member is dealing with their own issues but to spare embarrassment they put on a front; whether it’s a marital affair or the spousal pressures of trying to have a baby, the film manages to balance these weighty issues with levity but also makes them feel valid and genuine.
This Is Where I Leave You is a funny, charming movie that should be on your list of what to watch next on Netflix.
Stream here https://www.netflix.com/gb/