By Sean Walker, Collegiate Staff
Imagine the following scenario: you and your siblings haven’t spoken for a while, then suddenly your dad dies. When you all see each other again for his funeral, your mother tells you that your father’s dying wish was for you all to participate in the Jewish tradition of sitting Shiva—which is to say, you’re all grounded for a week. You suddenly find yourselves re-living some childhood memories as the week goes on for what feels like ages.
Such a scenario is the premise of this dramedy. In “This is where I leave You,” the four siblings of the Altman family end up going through more than typical sibling rivalry issues. Each of them has a troubled life: Judd (Jason Bateman) has divorced his wife Quinn (Abigail Spencer) after walk- ing in on her sleeping with his boss (Dax Shepard); Wendy (Tina Fey) is a married woman who still has strong feelings for her ex-boyfriend Horry (Timothy Olyphant); Paul (Corey Stoll) and his wife Annie (Kathryn Hahn) are struggling to have a child which puts a strain on their own relationship; and Phillip (Adam Driver) is having difficulty embracing his adulthood and re-connecting with his siblings. Even their mother Hillary (Jane Fonda) is having issues of keeping the peace and moving on from her husband’s death.
But through it all, the family comes together in ways that families often do when experiencing the death of a loved one: reflecting on how they all got to where they are, how close they really are, and how mistakes in the past lead to better relationships with each other in the present. The heart of the movie is the bond every family has with each other, and it all pans out in the way that really tugs at your heart strings. It’s one of those movies where you have plenty of moments to laugh, but it also has moments where you might regret not bringing any tissues (I will admit that I speak from experience in this particular case).
Whatever the case is, it’s the kind of movie that makes you laugh and makes you cry, but perhaps more importantly, it makes you think. Whatever you think about can be anything, but it’s hard to leave a movie like this without looking back on your own life. Heck, I’d say this movie is Oscar-worthy for its emotion alone; it will have a huge impact on you one way or another.