Check out our review of this five star comedy/drama about an atypical dysfunctional family that proves it would be a mistake thinking people are the sum total of what you see.
Studio and Year:
The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Warner - 2014
Feature running time:
English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, French/Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
English SDH, French, Spanish
Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Adam Driver, Corey Stoll, Rose Byrne, Kathryn Hahn, Timothy Olyphant, Dax Shepard, Connie Britton, Debra Monk, Jane Fonda, Ben Schwartz
Blu-ray Disc release Date:
December 16, 2014
"Welcome home. Get uncomfortable"
When their father passes away, four grown siblings, bruised and banged up by their respective adult lives, are forced to return to their childhood home and live under the same roof together for a week, along with their over-sharing mother and an assortment of spouses, exes and might-have-beens. Confronting their history and the frayed states of their relationships among the people who know and love them best, they ultimately reconnect in hysterical and emotionally affecting ways amid the chaos, humor, heartache and redemption that only families can provide—driving us insane even as they remind us of our truest, and often best, selves.
Based on the novel of the same name by Jonathan Trooper (who also penned the screenplay) This is where I leave you
is a marvelous comedy/drama that is rich in context and draws heavily from themes of familial dysfunction, coming of age (better late than never!), and the reexamination of self after years in the “dark”. I generally don’t go into detailed specifics about the plot but wanted to include a bit more in this case.
The film’s primary character is Judd Altman who up until recently saw his life through rose colored glasses, happy in his work, in love with his wife and having achieved the life he always sought. That is until he walked in on his wife Jen having sex in his bed with his boss, Wade. Now separated, unemployed, and living in a basement apartment, he receives the news that his father, who has been ill, has died and left a final request that his entire family sit seven days of Shiva. This will require Judd and his siblings to return to the suburban home where they grew up and spend seven days not only together but with their mother, whose candor can sometimes lead to THE most uncomfortable of moments. This sets the stage for the film’s foundation upon which everything rests.
During the week of mourning, a variety of familial dynamics play out. There is the relationship between Judd and his oldest brother Paul which is dominated by old resentment which is exacerbated by the awkwardness stemming from the fact that Paul's wife is Judd's old girlfriend. Judd's sister Wendy and her businessman husband Barry are unhappily married with two little one’s in tow, one of which is learning the pros of using a potty. During the visit Wendy has the opportunity to reconnect with her past love, Horry, whom she hasn’t seen since shortly after a devastating car accident left him with a brain injury. Then there’s Phillip, the baby of the family and free spirited screw-up, who brings home his much older and well to do psychiatrist girlfriend whom he wants to be faithful to be faithful to but….
The last piece of the Altman family pie is the family matriarch Hillary, a psychiatrist who when her kids were growing up wrote a bestselling book about parenting in which she shared specifics about their various ups, downs, ins, outs and awkward pubescent moments. Her infamous directness adds another layer of tension to the familial powder keg.
Aside from the five Altmans there is Annie Altman, Paul’s wife, who has been struggling to get pregnant for the last two years. Penny Moore, a local girl and old flame of Judd’s that he now sees in a different light. Horry Callen, Wendy’s high school love, who can’t live alone because of the brain injury he suffered when the two of them were involved in that near fatal car accident all those years ago. Linda Callen, Horry’s mother and best friend to Hillary whose support has seen Hillary through difficult times. Jen Altman, Judd’s cheating wife who desperately seeks to connect with Judd, perhaps to explain her actions. And Wade, Judd’s ex-boss, well he just plain isn’t worth synopsizing.
Each of these characters has an integral part to play in the Altman family soap opera as they struggle to contend with the loss of the father they loved while bearing the weight of relationships that have not born the fruit they envisioned. Hope is not lost though, as this week together will show them that amidst the chaos of familial dysfunction, love has a way of unlocking the best in them all.
I saw This is where I leave you
with my wife when it first came to theaters and we absolutely loved it. These are wonderfully fleshed out characters set to a pitch perfect tempo about family, relationships, and all that can sometimes lie in between. The script is top notch and intelligently blends its elements of drama and comedy without wasting a single moment. I love the fact that you laugh when you’re supposed to as well as when you shouldn’t. There is a humanity and warmth that where appropriate tugs at your heart strings.
I am not certain that these are characters and situations that I would necessarily categorize as genuine but there is no denying that you connect with, like and root for them. They are fallible and portrayed as such which is an important aspect of the story. Little Cole with his potty is THE one character in this story that has it all figured out. Each time he makes his appearance it rings a resounding and grounding bell that interjects perfectly but generally goes unnoticed.
The cast is simply marvelous. I have been a Jason Bateman fan for years and find his everyman charisma and spot on comedic delivery to be fun to watch. Corey Stoll is quickly rising to become another personal favorite as is Rose Byrne who has to be one of the busiest actress in Hollywood. Jane Fonda really shines in this role and gives of herself naturally. Tina fey shares excellent chemistry with Jason Bateman and holds her own quite well otherwise.
I really like Timothy Olyphant and was sort of disappointed the first time I saw the film as I felt the role he played was a minor one that didn’t take advantage of his talents. This second time through my opinion has changed. Small role yes, but he steals every scene he is in and does so in a subtle manner that could be easily overlooked. Lastly, I have to give props to Adam Driver who stands out among the many strong performances in this film. I was completely taken with his portrayal of Philip, the character who truly is the “glue” that binds the Altman family, they just don’t know it.
This is where I leave you
is among my favorite films of 2014. It is a smart, touching, funny and superbly enacted/directed comedy drama that has a refreshing edge that makes it a perfect choice for fans of the genre. It held up extremely well under this second viewing and is the type of film that I look forward to revisiting from time to time. ‘Nuff said…
The rating is for language, sexual content and some drug use.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency effects:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
- Low frequency extension * (non-rated element): NA
This is where I leave you comes to Blu-ray Disc from Warner Brothers Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 23 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.3 Mbps.
- Black Level/Shadow Detail:
- Color Reproduction:
This is an excellent video presentation that boasts plenty of high level detail, strong contrast, deeply saturated colors, and three dimensional acuity. Blacks are punchy and stand out when onscreen with mixed content. Visual perspective in low lighting is estimable which enhances depth. Images are dynamic, boldly colorful, and perfectly suited for the source material. I didn’t see any distracting signs of video artifacts or extraneous noise.
The lossless DTS-HD MA soundtrack has good dynamic range and detail rich clarity that enables the detection of subtle background sounds within the acoustic environment created by the surround mix. Dialogue is firmly planted in the center channel which clearly renders voices and effects with appropriate distinction and tonal balance within the front soundstage. Low frequency effects aren’t noteworthy but the subwoofer works in tandem with the rest of the system to appropriately convey the low level bass associated with the film’s recorded elements.
- (HD) Points of departure (4 segments):
- The brother-sister bond – 5 minutes
- The Matriarch – 4 minutes
- Sibling rivals – 5 minutes
- Choreographed chaos – 5 minutes
- (HD) The Gospel according to Rabbi Boner – 6 minutes
- (HD) 6 deleted/extended scenes
- The Narrative Voice: A commentary with Shawn Levy & Jonathan Tropper
- The Narrative Voice: A discussion with Shawn Levy & Jonathan Tropper
- Bonus DVD
- Digital HD Copy
Based on the novel of screenwriter Jonathan Tropper This is where I leave you
is among my favorite films of 2014. It is a smart, touching, funny and superbly enacted/directed comedy drama that has a refreshing edge that makes it a perfect choice for fans of the genre. It comes to Blu-ray from Warner Brothers Home Entertainment featuring excellent high definition video, crystal clear lossless sound quality and a worthwhile supplemental package that includes behind the scenes footage and insights from the filmmakers and cast. This is where I leave you
comes highly recommended.
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Reference Review System:
JVC DLA-RS4910 3D Ready 1080p High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6 Meter from Spectracal)
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV8801 11.2 Channel Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-103D Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player (With Darbee video processing)
Panasonic DMP-BDT310 3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SVS PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package