December 15, 2014 by rachelcmann
I’ve been wanting to see this movie for awhile so I was excited when it finally became available for home viewing (I don’t know how to phrase this since I didn’t watch it on DVD nor on Netflix…)
The Altman family is coming together for their patriarchs funeral and to sit shiva (a Jewish mourning tradition where you sit for seven days keeping vigil). The various and assorted spouses, family friends, and neighbors fill in the spaces while four siblings try to handle the loss of their father, their mother’s strange new outlook and their own crumbling relationships. We see most of this through the middle son Judd (Jason Bateman) whose life has taken a very sudden turn for the worst when he catches his wife sleeping with his boss. Yes, some of the scenarios are a bit predictable but each thread of the story has integrity and the actors do a wonderful job conveying heartbreak.
This is Where I Leave You got some press originally because it’s mostly a cast of comedic actors and the subject matter is pretty serious and dark. But it works beautifully because these actors are working to be something else, something more, just like we all do when we are faced with family and/or tragedy. We wear our masks with as much dignity as we can manage and avoid meeting the eyes of those who will see straight through us. But the lesson learned here is that, for most of us, there is a safe zone, a place where we can let our guard down whether we realize it or not. Usually this place is our family (or sometimes those we choose to be our family) and we will heal and grow if we let ourselves.