Tina Fey, Jason Bateman, Jane Fonda, lead a great cast in Canadian director Shawn Levy’s new take on family dysfunction in the movie This is Where I Leave You premiering at TIFF.

The topic of dysfunctional families never gets old and Shawn Levy’s newest film is the latest to examine the ups and downs of an estranged family brought together by tragedy. Starring an all-star cast, which includes Jane Fonda, Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Adam Driver and Corey Stroll This Is Where I Leave You made its premiere at TIFF.

When the Altman family patriarch dies, his four disgruntled children are forced to come together to mourn the loss of their father and end up sorting out their dirty laundry together with the help of their celebrity psychologist mother (Fonda).

“No matter what you do or what your age, don’t ever be complacent. And what a great example of it, she is,” Levy described Fonda to The National Post. “Jane Fonda insisted on auditioning. And this is a day and age when actors, who have two episodes in a television show, won’t audition anymore because they are offer only,”

In the film, Bateman, Fey along with Driver and Stoll play the four siblings who return to their childhood home for their father’s funeral and are forced to sit Shiva by their eccentric mother. The unhappy children are less than pleased with the forced confinement, but it allows not only for familial sorrows to be aired, but also happens to illustrate perfect on-screen chemistry of this all-star cast.

“With Jason and Tina, my whole approach was, we all have done well working in comedy on a big commercial scale,” Levy explained to The Hollywood Reporter. “I said, ‘I want to try something a little different here and I want you to try that different thing with me. None of us are going to get paid what we normally get paid.’ So we really linked arms in an economic model that kept the budget low and a creative aspiration that would be different.”

The small-budget film is a festival first for Levy who freely admits that he doesn’t “make festival-type movies.” Best known for his formulaic, family-friendly films such as Cheaper By The Dozen and the Night At The Museum series, the decision to make This Is Where I Leave You was a personal one for the Montreal-born writer/director. “I read the novel in 2009 and I fell for it,” he said. “It had the blend of funny and poignant that I like. The book is about marriage, mothers, fathers, love and siblings. But the movie is most of all a sibling love story. My five siblings were my life preservers. The pull of history and the imperative of the present is really alive in adult sibling relationships.”

And even if you’re not familiar with the book Fey assures you’ll still fall in love with the movie. “If you haven’t read the book you’ll still be engaged,” Fey told The Daily Mail.


This Is Where I Leave You also stars Rose Byrne, Timothy Olyphant, Kathryn Hahn, Connie Britton and Dax Shepard, and premieres in theatres on September 19.






—Sarah Khan

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