Tue 31 Mar 2015, 15:32
We have a look at the movie: This Is Where I Leave You.
Family comedy/ dramas are popular because, well, in one shape or another, we all have one. Of course, oddly shaped families are all the more entertaining - we're all a little wacky, despite our best efforts to achieve picture-perfection - there are no typical or perfect families.
Imagine - if you will - a family with Jane Fonda as the matriarch, while Tina Fey, Jason Bateman, Adam Driver and Corey Stoll star as siblings. Apart from being one of the most attractive families ever cast, they are funny - with a capital LOL! Then, place adjacent to them Connie Britton as the cougar girlfriend, Timothy Olifant as the lost love (who can never be regained), Rose Byrne as the quirky ex-school crush and Ben Schwartz as the coolest Rabbi ever to enter a Temple and you have an ensemble cast to rival The Royal Tenenbaums.
This incredible cast assemble when they suffer a family bereavement. As they are Jewish, they sit Shiva (which in a nutshell, is when the family of the departed sit side-by-side on low chairs and receive condolence calls for seven days). This close proximity and discomfort in any family is bound to cause fireworks and in this one, they are multi-coloured, chaotic and very, very funny.
I have to interrupt myself here to say that this movie is so fantastic that I watched it twice!
Now, on to what makes it so, Jane Fonda is a great comedy actress and there’s a reason she’s being type-cast in the mom roles these days, its her surgical enhancements and her willingness to laugh at them. Look out for the scene where Tina Fey goes to her for comfort and comments on them being rather comfortable, as well as an hysterical scene where Jane Fonda and Jason Bateman are making up the sofa bed.
Tina Fey is, in my opinion, flawless in every role, but she surpasses even my expectations here as she delivers a subtle dramatic and comedic performance. She’s the sister who has survived her three brothers, lost her greatest love in her teens and married the worst possible guy for her - and now has two children that she is raising on her own while her husband orbits his family, attached to his cell-phone. Her son provides some of the best comedy beats in the movie as he potty trains himself by keeping his potty with him at all times.
Every time I see a movie with him in it I am so pleased that Arrested Development brought Jason Bateman back on form. It's like the years when he was really, really terrible and his subsequent rebirth on the series supercharged him into the Iron Man of comedy! His performances are nuanced with charm and sharp, cutting wit.
I had no idea that Rose Byrne could play kooky and at a Juno level, she is Jason Bateman’s free-spirited High School crush who just speaks her mind as the thoughts enter her head.
This movie is brutally honest about the sticky mess that holds families together and at the same time pulls them apart, and it is this honesty that makes it so charming, so funny and so great to watch. We are all in this movie, on our best days and our worst. I recognised so many versions of myself and my family that I laughed with the cast as they laughed and cried when they cried. Then I phoned my sister to tell her that she’s really cool and I love her.
The ebb and flow of this movie is so beautiful as it takes you from laughing out loud at Jane Fonda describing intimate moments to a room full of mourners, to choking up a little in some of the most beautiful, raw, intimate conversations, you wish you could have with your family. In one of those superbly beautiful scenes, Jason Bateman asks the question we all shout at the sky at some time, “is it the whole world or is it just this family?” In the same conversation Tina Fey delivers a line that sounds both profound and ridiculous and may remain one of my favourites forever, “Love causes cancer, like everything else, but its still love, it has its moments.”
Rent this movie is you are in the mood for comedy awesomeness! The cast is phenomenal, the writing, superb and the overall movie a must see!