Saturday, March 11, 2023

Cinema Therapy - This is Where I Leave You

 "This Is Where I Leave You" is a 2014 American comedy-drama film directed by Shawn Levy and based on the novel of the same name by Jonathan Tropper.

The movie revolves around the Altman family, who reunite for their father's funeral and spend seven days sitting shiva (a Jewish mourning tradition) together in their childhood home. The family consists of four adult siblings: Judd (played by Jason Bateman), Wendy (played by Tina Fey), Paul (played by Corey Stoll), and Phillip (played by Adam Driver), as well as their mother Hillary (played by Jane Fonda).

During the seven-day shiva, old conflicts and secrets arise between family members as they deal with their grief and struggles in their personal lives. Judd, who has just discovered his wife is having an affair with his boss, is particularly struggling and is also dealing with the loss of his father. Wendy is dealing with her unhappy marriage and the stress of being a mother to two young children. Paul is struggling with the pressures of running his father's business, and Phillip is struggling with his own relationship issues.

Throughout the film, the characters confront their past, their relationships with each other, and the reality of their present lives. They all have to come to terms with their own issues and find a way to move forward, both as individuals and as a family.

The film is a poignant and often humorous exploration of family dynamics, grief, and the complexities of relationships. It features a talented ensemble cast, including some of the biggest names in comedy, and is both heartwarming and thought-provoking.

Families are messy and life is not easy. Grief in families sometimes leads to regression as family members revert back to old roles and rules when the key event, the death of a significant family member, throws the family system into disequilibrium which will eventually restabilize for better or worse after the loss.

What are the key losses in your family system over your life history and what have been the changes in family functioning since? Families can be reactive or they can be responsive to the loss. Reactivity often leads to a deterioration in functioning while responsiveness can contribute to enhanced functioning.

Families can reorganize as a new person steps in to play the leadership role or they can disorganize and die. The Altman family reorganizes in a positive way even with the significant changes that have occurred. They all eventually step forward to evolve their relationships to new and enhanced levels of functioning in spite of the multiple traumas.

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This is Where I Leave You as of 03/11/23 is streaming on Netflix.

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