Jane Fonda is like the energizer bunny, she keeps going and going and going. And with two Oscars and such well known films such as "Barefoot in the Park", "The China Syndrome", "Nine to Five", "On Golden Pond", "Coming Home" and "Klute" at 77, one would think she would rest on her laurels, that would be a "No". In addition to Fonda, are Tina Fey, Justine Bateman, and Adam Driver to name a few.
In This is Where I Leave You, she plays the matriarch of a family of 4 children, who are so completely different, yet so bonded in different ways. The film opens with the father dying. Hillary, the mother, (Fonda) declares at the funeral that one of their father's (who apparently was an atheist) last wishes was that his family all sit Shiva for him. (A week long period of mourning when the entire family literally sits, grieves, and receives guests.) With the children come their spouses, significant others, wannabes, could have been's, etc. It gets complicated from the get go.
This could have spiraled into a mad cap comedy, not unlike the British funeral film, "Death at a Funeral". But, to the screenwriters credit, it doesn't. The family is dysfunctional (as we all tend to be these days.) The mother has written a best selling book about the children revealing all their sexual tenancies from the boys' childhood fascinations with their penises to the daughter's first sexual encounter. And she is quick to talk about it should anyone bring it up, much to the dismay and humiliation of her children.
All of the children bring issues home with them - marital problems, conception issues, and child hood relationships. There is humor, chaos, tender moments, and redemption. And, if you don't leave the theater saying to yourself, "Boy, maybe our family is not the only one . . .", perhaps you should do some soul searching.
I recommend this 103 minutes. It is enjoyable, funny at time, hysterical at times, sad at times, but most of all, deep down, a little close to home. See it.