“This is Where I Leave You” Review

With an all-star cast including Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Jane Fonda, Adam Driver, Rose Byrne, Corey Stoll, Dax Shepard, and Kathryn Hahn, This is Where I Leave You is the adaptation of Jonathan Tropper’s novel of the same name. Directed by Shawn Levy, the story follows 4 children who sit Shiva in their mother’s house after their father dies. It’s essentially August Osage County, only with comedians. 

When each of the characters are introduced, they are introduced as clichés. However, as the film goes on, these clichés are developed pretty well. By the end of the film, all of the characters still seem like clichés, but they also all seem like real people. It’s obvious that a lot of effort went into the creation of these roles, but everything that the characters do seems forced and predictable. However, I can’t fault the movie too much for this, because it seems to be the intent of the film makers, as this conundum is referenced several times by the characters in the movie.

A large part in the creation of these character-cliché hybrids likely lies in the strength of the performances. Everyone is given time to shine, and everyone gives a fantastic performance. The style of the film allows for there to be a large number of different conversation pairs, and somehow everybody has chemistry with everyone else. Everybody has so much charisma that you’re never left waiting for a new character to come on screen.

Although it’s generally entertaining all the way through, it’s also very one note. You could probably walk into the film at any time and still feel the same way about it. The whole movie is just characters talking and fighting and trying to figure out their lives. It never really leads to anything though.

This is Where I Leave You is manipulative, but it’s charmingly manipulative. It’s not astounding in any sense, but I don’t feel like it aims to be a big critic nor crowd pleaser. Despite the constant fighting, it’s a quiet film. I enjoyed it, but I also recognize its faults. 7/10.

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