“This Is Where I Leave You”: Therapists Won’t Like This

Welcome Home. Get uncomfortable. Tagline for This Is Where I Leave You

This Is Where I Leave You is the type of star-studded dysfunctional-family dramedy you might get kinda excited about after seeing the previews:

But then you find the disappointing reviews. Many say it’s a predictable and not-funny-enough, not good-enough script—adapted, incidentally, by Jonathan Tropper himself, the author of the 2009 best-selling novel.

Cynthia Fuchs, Pop Matters, sums it all up: “Girls want babies, boys want reassurance, girls nurture, boys need to wander. Dad is dead. Long live formula.”

Despite this, you dig even deeper into what the critics are saying. Alas, you find out that not one, but two, therapists are (once again) depicted badly.

More About the Plot and Characters

Jane Fonda plays the dysfunctional family‘s psychiatrist/author Hillary who believes, “Secrets are a cancer to a family.”

Per Witney Seibold, The Wrap: “This dramedy…offers family angst lite, with marital infidelity served up as the most grievous sin committed by any of the characters in it: Jason Bateman‘s recently divorced sad sack; Tina Fey’s fussy, unhappily married sister; Jane Fonda’s mouthy mom; and Adam Driver’s irresponsible lout, to name but a few.”

Having now seen this myself (despite the reviews), I can add that viewers know Hillary’s adult kids aren’t happy with their mom’s oversharing. Less is specifically said about Driver’s character Phillip’s new relationship with his therapist, though, in large part because so little has ever been expected of him and his choices.

To be clearer, this situation (if occurring in real life) is much more about the choice made by the ex-therapist he’s dating, who breezily explains she terminated the clinical relationship when they knew they had a more personal interest in each other. More ethical choices could involve discussion(s) of how to move forward via processing this clinically and/or terminating the clinical relationship and thus the relationship, period, and referring him elsewhere.

Chris Nashawaty, ew.comconcludes the following about the various characters’ representations: “The movie is so festooned with clichés it proves that Tolstoy was dead wrong when he wrote that every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. This clan is just like the one in August: Osage County (or Home For the Holidays or The Family Stone), only with more eye-rolling one-liners about Jane Fonda’s cantaloupe-sized breast implants. It’s a misfire that’s especially confounding considering that you couldn’t ask for a more promising cast of brother-and-sister bickerers.”

Additional Reviews

Todd McCarthy, Hollywood Reporter: “You laugh in spite of yourself in This Is Where I Leave You, a potty-mouthed comedy with enough exasperation, aggravations, long-standing grievances and get-me-outta-here moments of family stress to strike a chord with anyone who’s ever had to endure large clan gatherings that might have lasted a bit too long.”

Scott Foundas, Variety: “Sitting shiva makes the heart grow fonder (and the libido rage and the repressed grievances runneth over) in ‘This Is Where I Leave You,’ a sprawling ensemble dramedy that starts out like a full-tilt sit-com and gradually migrates to a place of genuine feeling.”

Rex Reed, New York Observer: “The actors all seem lost and jittery. The direction seems phoned in while waiting in line at some suburban ATM machine. If you crave freshness, originality or quality, cherish the decision to pass up This Is Where I Leave You and be content with the knowledge that you didn’t miss a thing.”

1 visit(s) today

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *