After her husband dies, Hilary Altman (played by Jane Fonda) insists the family carry out his dying wish and gather together for seven days for the observance of Shiva. Hilary’s a published author and a psychologist, so she thinks nothing of sharing (and publishing) in full the private and often intimate experiences of her children – oldest Paul (by Corey Stoll), who works in the family business; his wife Linda (by Debra Monk) who is desperate to have a baby; Judd (by Jason Bateman) who’s still in shock after his own relationship has suffered a serious blow; Wendy (by Tina Fey) possibly the most sensible of the siblings and Phillip (by Adam Driver), who’s the youngest but although he’s adult age, is not yet grown up. There are visitors all week too, including Wendy’s high school sweetheart Horry (by Timothy Oliphant), who still lives opposite with his mother, Philip’s fiancé Tracey (by Connie Britton) and Penny (by Rose Byrne) a local girl who’s always been in love with Judd. The family must endure this week of total togetherness, stay sane and somehow keep their relationships intact.
This movie’s best feature is the relationships it depicts – all are fascinating and worthy of exploration. Each Altman sibling has a love-hate relationship with the others and with Hilary, their mother. They all recount experiences from the past and consider them through their now adult eyes. As the over-sharing Hilary, Jane Fonda is better than I’ve seen her for ages. Jason Bateman is good here too, as is Tina Fey as Wendy and Dax Shephard as Judd’s boss, Wade. I enjoyed Rose Byrne’s performance too, she is lovely. Overall, this has its good points, but it is too long. Some of the scenes don’t have to be quite as laboured, but – having said that – the whole thing does combine into a sensible piece. Jonathan Tropper wrote the screen adaptation from his own 2009 novel “This is Where I Leave You”. I’m not sure if it’s supposed to be funny or not, I didn’t find it so – but I thought it was fine.
Made in 2014. Directed by Shawn Levy