THIS IS WHERE I LEAVE YOU focuses on the Altman family, an upstate New York clan who live boisterous but ultimately loving lives. Its main character, Jud, is having a terrible time. He discovers his radio host boss in bed with his own wife. Jud quits his job and decides to divorce. Then, he learns his father has died. Although they are secular Jews, he and his siblings are called to sit shiva – the seven days of mourning in the Jewish faith – for their father. Over the seven days, many conflicts come up, often involving messed-up marriages and affairs.
THIS IS WHERE I LEAVE YOU has too many characters and multiple endings. However, all the actors do a good job, which helps maintain interest. The bigger problem is that the messed-up lives of the characters often involve adultery, affairs and past regrets. The movie also has lots of strong foul language and other strong crude content, plus a pro-homosexual subplot and a comical marijuana scene. Media-wise viewers will find THIS IS WHERE I LEAVE YOU unacceptable. Thus, so it is.
(RoRoRo, HH, PCPC, HoHo, B, C, Ab, FRFR, LLL, V, SS, NN, AA, DD, MM) Very strong Romantic worldview with some comments promoting atheism, and a politically correct homosexual subplot in a story about a secular Jewish family gathering for seven days of shiva memorials and coming into conflict with each other before finding resolutions, with some pro-family, redemptive elements including scenes of forgiveness, but a lot of cheating and promiscuity, and an over-eager rabbi character is often poked fun at but overall is shown as a man of faith, though there’s an antinomian, superficial tone to much of the movie’s morality and spirituality, including the way the rabbi runs his congregation; at least 83 obscenities, 13 strong profanities (about eight using Jesus), 17 light profanities, and an obscene gesture, plus jokes about little boy being potty trained often sitting on his plastic toilet, with an image of one of his feces in one scene; some comic violence as brothers get into a couple fights, woman punches man’s jaw because he was being a jerk, and men overturn fancy car of man who was acting like a jerk; some strong and lots of light sexual content and immorality includes depicted adultery when man suddenly comes home to find his wife in bed with his boss, implied adultery, implied fornication, strong and light crude talk about sexual activity, cheating, woman announces she’s in a lesbian relationship, and she makes a point of passionately kissing her lesbian lover in front of people, passionate heterosexual kissing, mother has had a boob job, and it’s obvious, some adultery is rebuked, but some is not, and married woman desperate to have a child fails to convince brother-in-law to sleep with her; upper and rear male nudity plus some female cleavage, including mother with new boob job flashes a lot of cleavage in several scenes; alcohol use and light drunkenness; smoking and marijuana use; and, strong miscellaneous immorality includes mother lies to children about what their father wished on her deathbed, lying, cheating, and dysfunctional family relationships, but siblings are shown to be unhappy with their messed-up lives and inability of some of them to have solid relationships like their parents.
THIS IS WHERE I LEAVE YOU is comedy with many dramatic elements about a secular Jewish family gathering for seven days of shiva mourning their atheist patriarch and coming into conflict with each other before finding some resolutions. THIS IS WHERE I LEAVE YOU often becomes a sex farce and has very strong Romantic worldview with strong Humanist content and a brief pro-homosexual subplot. There are also some positive messages of forgiveness and family strength and an over-eager rabbi character, who’s mocked, but overall is shown as a man of faith.
The movie centers on the Altman family, an upstate small-town New York clan who live boisterous, but ultimately loving lives. Its main character Jud (Jason Bateman), however, is having a terrible time. In the very beginning, he discovers his radio host boss and friend (Dax Shepard) having graphic sex with his wife, and quits his job and decides to divorce as a result. Then, on top of everything, he learns his father died. He and his siblings are called to sit shiva – the seven days of mourning in the Jewish faith – for their father, even though they are secular Jews who never normally practice any kind of religion.
Over the course of the week together, many conflicts come up, often centering on the messed-up marriages and affairs among the siblings. These are too convoluted to go into detail, but the actors are good and draw viewers in emotionally, despite the fact their lives are so messed up.
While the characters’ lives are messed up, they are also shown as unhappy and realizing they have to do better. One marriage is saved, another one that’s coming apart at least has forgiveness develop, and another woman remains with her family even after having a secret one night stand with her old boyfriend. Besides the heterosexual promiscuity, another offensive storyline comes when one of the characters suddenly admits they are homosexual – a plot point intended for comedic shock that doesn’t, however, really fit the rest of the movie.
THIS IS WHERE I LEAVE YOU has too many characters and a ham-handed narrative structure with too many false endings. Despite these major problem, it manages to hold the viewer’s attention, mostly because of the movie’s performances.
Despite all the cheating, the movie’s overarching message is the importance of family and forgiveness of all past indiscretions committed against each other. The family does seem to have deep love for each other, with forgiveness as the overriding message. It’s also noteworthy that several of the characters are shown as remaining unhappy or unresolved with their messed-up situations. So the movie doesn’t blindly accept all their bad behavior. That said, there’s an antinomian tone to the movie’s morality and spirituality, including the family’s politically correct acceptance of homosexual behavior. The movie also has nearly constant foul language and some other crude content, including many “f” words. There’s also a comedic scene about smoking marijuana and setting off the sprinkler system in a Jewish synagogue’s empty classrooms.
Ultimately, therefore, THIS IS WHERE I LEAVE YOU is unacceptable viewing. Media-wise moviegoers will want to avoid it.
Since You’re Here…
We’re sustained by donations averaging about $25. Only a tiny portion of our readers give. If everyone reading this right now gave $7, our fundraiser would be done within an hour. That’s right, the price of one movie ticket is all we need. If Movieguide® is useful to you, please take one minute to keep it online and growing. Thank you.
Movieguide® is a 501c3 non-profit and all donations are tax-deductible.