Film follows familys bickering, bonding during fathers shiva

In the film “This Is Where I Leave You,” Judd Altman (Jason Bateman) walks in on his wife having voracious sex with his boss, a Howard Stern-style shock jock, and soon finds himself out of a job, a marriage and a home.

The Altman family gathers to sit shiva in “This Is Where I Leave You.” photo/warner brothers pictures

Then his father dies, but not before leaving a startling last request for Judd and the rest of his dysfunctional clan: The entire mishpocha should camp out at the family home and sit shiva for seven days.

“But Dad is an atheist,” one of Judd’s siblings complains. “A Jewish atheist,” corrects another.

And so the bickering Altmans come together, both clashing and bonding as they reluctantly carry out their patriarch’s final wish: Judd, his brother Paul (Corey Stoll), who resents that he had to shoulder the family business while his siblings escaped the suburbs; Judd’s sister, Wendy (Tina Fey), the tart-tongued and miserable wife of a workaholic hedge fund manager; Philip (Adam Driver), the family screw-up who, as the youngest child, has been pampered his whole life; and the family matriarch, Hilary (Jane Fonda), an over-sharing, stiletto-wearing pop psychologist who has written a best-selling parenting book that reveals all too many embarrassing anecdotes about her children.


This article was reprinted from the L.A. Jewish Journal. To view the full story, visit

Naomi Pfefferman

L.A. Jewish Journal