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Film / This Is Where I Leave You

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"Oh no, we're just sitting in awkward silence."

A 2014 American comedy film starring Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Corey Stoll, Adam Driver, Kathryn Hahn, and Jane Fonda and directed by Shawn Levy of Night at the Museum fame.

Judd Altman is not having a good year. First he walks in on his wife having sex with his boss, then he loses his job, moves into a crappy apartment and grows a beard. Finally his sister calls to inform him that their dad's dead.

Oh, and they have to sit Shiva.

Now Judd has spend a week back in his old house, along with his brutally honest sister, perpetually angry older brother, man child younger brother and his over-sharing mother.

And they didn't get along the first time around.

Based on the book by Jonathan Tropper, who also wrote the screenplay. It was generally well received by the critics and was a modest box office hit, gaining praise for the cast's easy chemistry.

This movie provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Age-Gap Romance: Phillip's girlfriend, Tracy, is much older than he is, being closer to his mother's age. Phillip is frustrated that everyone assumes that he's only dating her for her money, and Tracy feels insecure about their age gap, especially after seeing Phillip blatantly flirt with his younger ex-girlfriends. She ends up leaving him for this.
  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Hilary is very open about her sex life with her now-deceased husband and also loves sharing embarrassing details about her children's childhoods.
  • Beard of Sorrow: Judd has grown one, and seems to like it, as he doesn't bother to shave once he moves on from Quinn.
  • Bedroom Adultery Scene: Judd comes home early only to find his wife in bed with his boss.
  • Big Little Brother: Philip is the youngest of the family and the tallest, being played by 6'3 Adam Driver.
  • Birth-Death Juxtaposition: Judd finds out he's going to be a father while sitting shiva for his Dad.
  • Book Ends: Judd confides to Penny that he has a desire to drive up to Maine, but never actually went through with it, symbolizing his lack of spontaneity and unwillingness to take any risks in life. At the end of the movie, after saying his final goodbyes to his family, he decides on a whim to take his brother's car and drive all the way up to Maine.
  • Brother–Sister Team: Judd and Wendy are the closest out of the four siblings, confide in each other about their romantic woes and have a secret hang-out spot.
  • Childhood Friend: Rabbi Grodner was the Altmans' childhood friend, and he spent most of his childhood hanging out at their house. When they all reunite as adults, he still spends most of his time there, though gets very annoyed whenever the family refers to him by his Embarrassing Nickname.
  • Cool Big Sis: Wendy seems to be the only one of his siblings Phillip actually looks up to.
  • The Dutiful Son: Paul, who stayed in town and joined the family business. He's understandably pissed off when Phillip announces that he wants to run the business with him.
  • Divorce Is Temporary: Subverted. Wendy notes that Judd and Quinn are going to end up back together, and even though it seems like it'll take that route when Quinn reveals that she's pregnant, they never do, with Judd even saying that they don't need to be married to raise a child together. Judd even ends up getting together with Penny, his actual Love Interest.
  • Emasculated Cuckold: Judd struggles with feelings of emasculation after finding out his wife had been cheating on him with his boss for a least one year. Ironically, by the end Wade also abandons Judd because she got pregnant with Judd's child and he doesn't want to raise another man's child.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: Rabbi Grodner's Berserk Button is having anyone call him "Boner". Notably, his actual last name is said maybe once in the movie, every other time he's called Boner.
  • Good Adultery, Bad Adultery: Wendy having sex with Horry is treated far more sympathetically than Quinn cheating on Judd, since Wendy is stuck in an unhappy marriage and never got over her love for Horry.
  • Headbutt of Love: While getting high at the synagogue, Judd and Phillip reminisce how their father would never kiss their foreheads and instead touch them, and they briefly argue over whether it counts as an intimate gesture. At the end, Judd and Phillip do this for a rather long time before saying goodbye to each other.
  • Informed Judaism: Depicted rather realistically. The Altman children are surprised their atheist father's last request was that they sit shiva for him because he didn't, it was actually the non-Jewish Hilary who claimed he did so the family would spend time together, but they understand the concept with only minimal explanation from the rabbi. At one point Wendy points out that the shiva chairs are set up where they used to put the Christmas tree.
  • Hot-Blooded: Paul, along with being no-nonsense, is also short-tempered and has a tendency to jump to conclusions too quickly. He's the one who begins most of the fights between the siblings.
  • Jerkass: Wade, Judd's former boss and the guy who his wife was cheating, is obnoxious, sexist, and ends up leaving Quinn because he doesn't want to be a father to her child.
  • Only Child Syndrome: Penny confesses that she can't really relate to the Altman's various hang-ups because she's an only child. Judd thinks that sounds wonderful.
  • Law of Inverse Fertility: Paul and Annie are desperate to have a baby, while Judd learns that he got Quinn pregnant while they're in the process of getting a divorce.
  • No Bisexuals: After learning that their mother has been dating Linda for a few months, the siblings seem to come to the conclusion that she "turned into a lesbian", and none of them stop to think that she might just be bisexual.
  • Parental Sexuality Squick: Hilary horrifies her children when she casually mentions the size of their father's penis while people are visiting for the shiva.
  • Plot-Inciting Infidelity: Judd's misfortunes begin with him finding out his wife is cheating on him... with his boss.
  • Plot-Triggering Death: Judd is forced to go back home and stay with his wonderfully dysfunctional family after the death of his father.
  • Practically Different Generations: Judd, Wendy, and Paul are all of the same generation while Phillip "the eternal baby" was born around the time they hit adolescence (given Wendy's story of her getting her period while watching him) and his parents have hit their middle-age (given the ages of Jane Fonda and Adam Driver). Phillip also makes it clear that Wendy was the one who raised him.
  • The Reveal: Hilary fell in love and began having sex with Linda shortly after Mort fell ill, with his full approval. She was the one who suggested the shiva with her children, as she wanted to bring the whole family together so she could properly come out to them.
  • Sibling Triangle: Subverted; Annie dated Judd before she married Paul, but only for a few months and long ago, and it's clear they've both moved on. She does try to seduce him in a moment of weakness, but only because she's desperate for a baby and Judd is fertile. Afterwards, Annie apologizes and he tells her that what she has with Paul should not be risked in order to get pregnant.
  • Silver Vixen: Hilary Altman as played by Jane Fonda who even has inflated breasts and her good looks while being the mother of three in their forties, the youngest in his early thirties (given Adam Driver's age), and two soon to be three grandchildren.
  • The One That Got Away: Horry, whom Wendy used to date, is this for her, and she still pines for him despite it being years since they were together. Her regret into causing the car accident that made Horry get brain damage is why they broke up.
  • Modesty Bedsheet: When Judd catches Quinn cheating on him with Wade, they cover themselves with the bedsheet. When they climb out of bed, Quinn's Toplessness from the Back to the camera while Wade resorts to using a pillow to cover his crotch.
  • Women Are Wiser: Wendy, the only female Altman sibling, is far more sensible than her brothers are, and spends most of her time trying to mediate disputes or break up fights between them.