We all have a number of comfort movies that we rewatch to feel good or for nostalgia purposes. Some of mine include The Goonies and the The Mummy franchise! Comfort movies are different for everyone though, but one of more underrated comfort films out there has to be This Is Where I Leave You. This film has the ability to help you get through that rut of life as it becomes more complex or if you just need a good laugh. It makes it even better that it was directed by Stranger Things producer and Deadpool 3 director Shawn Levy.
Judd Altman (played by Jason Bateman) travels home for his father’s funeral. While visiting his hometown, his siblings Wendy (played by Tina Fey), Paul (played by Corey Stoll), and Philip (played by Adam Driver) welcome him back while also mourning their father. At the behest of their mother, Hilary (played by Jane Fonda), they all spend the week in the house they grew up in. With each family member having their own set of problems, they must try and figure out a way of moving forward and accept the hand life has dealt them.
This is such a sweet film, its story may be along the lines of cliched but that doesn’t mean it isn’t enjoyable. The entire cast has such perfect chemistry with each other, you would be forgiven if you mistook them for a real family. From their sentimental moments of grieving to their sibling bickering and fights, both hilarious and relatable. Not to mention everyone who's a part of the supporting cast and not the main ensemble also keeps the chemistry to 11 with all the jokes and love a makeshift family could have.
The comedy is also funnier than I could have anticipated. With many of the jokes landing superbly and never overstaying its welcome, with much of the comedy stemming from the interpersonal relationships between the siblings. A couple of the best scenes were the brothers sharing a tender moment over a joint, and the hilarious fight between the 3 brothers as well at the end of the film. They also know when to walk the line between comedy and tragedy as they all find a way to cope with their father’s demise, knowing when to tell a comforting joke or tug at the heartstrings.
The performances are just as heartfelt as everyone delivers. Jason Bateman is really endearing and sympathetic as Judd, and is far too relatable with him going through one of the worst years of his life. Tina Fey is just as heartfelt as she struggles to come to terms with her present and past during her trip back home. A pre-Kylo Ren Adam Driver was really electrifying as the black sheep of the family and is quite hilarious, this role reminds me how versatile of an actor Driver is and is more than just a dramatic actor. And of course, Jane Fonda is charismatic as ever and is great as the matriarch of the family, knowing when to be nurturing and when to lay down the law.
I gotta say, there is a phenomenal message on life itself, as it is all about confronting setbacks and change in life. Especially with Bateman’s character, dealing with a divorce, becoming a parent, and his father dying safe to say his plate is full. But it is also noted how it deals with the discussion of simple and complicated lives. Life is complicated, it certainly is worth remembering how to deal with the complications in order to feel more at peace with the hand dealt our way when life does become more complicated.
This Is Where I Leave You is one of the more underrated comedies of the last decade. Being extremely heartwarming as well as laugh out loud funny. The jokes never feel stale and never overstay their welcome. The performances are just as heartfelt with Bateman, Driver, and Fey being particularly standouts in an already standout ensemble. This Is Where I Leave You also has a touching message on how complicated life is and adapting to the changes it has to offer. Overall, this is a comfort movie for the hardest of times and has the ability to lift your spirit up if you need it.