The Movie: 7/10
I disagree with the box, it says it’s “touching and hilarious”. That’s from some dude in Chicago. This is Where I Leave You is funny, yes, and it tugs at a few heart-strings, yes. That does not make it hilarious, nor touching. If you have seen more than 7 movies in your life you know what you are going to get when a movie is sold to you with the stars being long time comedy folks. If the trailer hints at charm and comedy with a blush of family dysfunction, we can all probably sync up our brains and make a movie that comes out very similar before even seeing it. All that, what I just said there, sounds negative, but really it’s just observational. I don’t like to be delusional about movies. I can’t LOVE a movie just because it has someone in it I really enjoy watching, like Jason Bateman. I can’t blindly talk about how wonderful a movie is just because it has a Hollywood icon in it, even if it’s Jane Fonda. Look past the shiny objects and get to the reality of it all. This is a good movie. Yes, good.
The cast is all just right. I felt each person become their character. I bought it all. Fonda as the somewhat self-absorbed but open-minded mother. Jason Bateman as the repressed mid-level adult child with problems he’s too blind to see. 30 Rock veteran is funny and she does dig deep as the older sister charged with being more grown up then her free-spirited mother. Then we have Adam Driver as Phillip, the youngest child…OH YES I identify with his behavior and character and I think he got it just right. He’s flippant and a bit wild with a keen observational talent. He has watched them all his life and learned more than they could have. The youngest always is looking forward at those who came first, and with the writing and his performance, I totally buy it.
The story brings the grown children of Fonda together after their father dies. They stay together for the Shiva (orchestrated by their mother, their father was an atheist) and through the week-long family torturous togetherness they sort out some issues, of course, and we find a little bit of our family in there somewhere. NO, my family is not a bunch of well off, well dressed, pretentious yahoos who seem to all have expensive cars and lives that go in a straight line. We are to believe that when we meet them we are coming into their lives just as each of them has the one problem that causes them a glitch in their otherwise well-organized lives. Whatever. I can deal with that packaged family, since they do show some cracks.
Fonda is amazing. That’s all I’m gonna say about that.
I enjoyed the whole movie, and if it came on at some late hour I would watch it again and look for more good things. Some movies are like that, they need to marinade on the brain a few times. This is Where I Leave You is a great Saturday afternoon flick, with popcorn and a blanket.
- Point Of Departure (20 Minutes) – This special feature is broken up into four parts which have to be watched separately. It takes you through the making of the movie with lots of interviews with the principal cast and the director.
- Deleted & Extended Scenes (13 Minutes) – Two deleted and Four extended scenes. Nothing of note here and no descriptions of the individual scenes.
- The Narrative Voice A Commentary & A Discussion – A feature-length commentary track with Shawn Levy and Jonathan Tropper. Levy is a very touchy=feely director and you certainly get that vibe from this commentary track. Also included here is a four and half-minute featurette about the creation of the film.
- DVD & UV Digital Copy
Cover Art and Menus: 3/10
Hate the cover. Those boxes, suck. I would not have this as a poster, ever. The menu is serviceable.
Audio & Video: 8/10
This is where I leave you was like many newer films shot digitally using Arri equipment. I have nothing against Arri cameras but I do notice that indoor scenes always appear flat and lifeless when filmed this way. Scenes outside look incredible with a depth of field and color reproduction that is second to none. A lot of this film takes place indoors though so it does suffer a little. There is also a lot of noise in the picture in certain scenes but aside from that detail is fine and black levels are inky black.
Warner have chosen to the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track here and for the type of film it is a very good choice. There is little to no use of the surround and LFE channels throughout the entire runtime as this is a very talky movie. Dialog though which is 100 percent of the film is crisp, centered and very clean. Fans of the film will not miss a word here.
Overall Score 7/10