Movie Adaptation: This is Where I Leave You

When it’s my turn to choose the movie on date night, I will almost always pick a movie that originated in a book. And I will almost always read the book before I go to the theater. I don’t think I need an award for it, but I think you get way more out of a movie if you have read all the little details first.

And so, I’m going to start another segment on the blog that isn’t strictly book related, but I want to discuss the book-based movies that are popping up with regularity. I’ll mark them, so you know it’s not the book I’m referring to. I’ll post the differences, the similarities. Note that I’m writing this with the assumption that you’ve read the book….so these will contain spoilers. Still, I’ll post a spoiler alert at the top. If you don’t want to be spoiled, don’t read the post.

And, on we go.


I’ll be honest, when I saw the cast line up for This is Where I Leave You, I was displeased. My interpretation of the book was more dark and depressing than dramadey. Jason Batemen…ok. He can be awkward and dry, but I was skeptical. The entire time I was reading, I heard John Cusack in my head and it was going to be really hard to follow that up. He was the perfect image of awkwardly cute and sad in my mind. Batemen was just a little to…I dunno…clean?

Jane Fonda. Perfect mom. I wasn’t worried about her at all. That casting was dead on.

But then there was Tina Fey for Wendy. WHAT?! Noooooooooo. Wendy is not a funny character. She’s a depressed alcoholic with an asshole husband. Don’t get me wrong. I love Tina Fey. I think she’s a brilliant comedienne. But I just knew she was going to ruin this character. I wasn’t going to be able to take the movie seriously with her in that role. It was going to be awful.

I was so doubtful that I told my husband that I wanted to skip it and just wait until it came out to DVD. I really wanted to see Maze Runner last night.

But, we really wanted to try out the 21+ recliner theater last night, and Maze Runner is a young adult movie. So, we saw This instead. And I was way wrong. It was really great.

Now, it definitely is a dramadey. It’s not as depressing as I interpreted the book. But, it’s not, by any means, a romcom. There’s a lot of family turmoil in this movie, as you’d expect. And Tina Fey? She nails it.

I still don’t see Jason Batemen as my Judd, but he did a good job. I dug the beard.

They did really downplay Horry’s role, which I was upset about. He was much more of a part of the book, and he was almost background noise in the movie. He’s there, but you hardly see him.

Overall, though, I think this was a pretty good movie adaptation. Is it a good date movie? Maybe…if you’ve been together awhile. Not so much for a first or second. It’s a little hard on relationships. I probably won’t rush out to buy it, but might rent it on Redbox when it comes out.