I read Jonathan Tropper's This Is Where I Leave You way back in 2009, and although I was blogging then, I didn't post a review. The novel is receiving a revival of well-deserved buzz because the movie version, directed by Shawn Levy, will be in theaters on September 19.
Here's the premise, in brief: While Judd is coming to grips with the dissolution of his marriage, his sister calls to tell him that their father has finally succumbed to cancer. For Judd, going home for the funeral and to sit shiva is fraught with sadness, sibling rivalry, suppressed memories, and--eventually--healing.
Although the premise of This Is Where I Leave You (TIWILY) may sound intense, Tropper's wry sense of humor and ability to perfectly capture dysfunctional family dynamics will have you smiling through your tears.
As I mentioned, the movie based on the novel is opening in about two weeks. The big question everyone has when it comes to transforming books to movies is, Does the screenplay convey what I loved about the novel? Fortunately, in the case of TIWILY, the answer seems to be yes. One big factor is that Tropper himself wrote the screenplay. The principal difference I've seen so far is that the family's last name was changed from Foxman (the novel) to Altman (the movie). Here's a short video in which author Jonathan Tropper, director Shawn Levy, and some of the actors talk about the process of taking the story from print to silver screen:
I can't say enough about the amazing cast, including Jane Fonda, Tina Fey, and Timothy Olyphant. Individually and as a group, the actors execute the difficult mix of poignant and humor without missing a beat. The stellar cast is rounded out by Jason Bateman, Corey Stoll, Adam Driver, Connie Britton, and Rose Byrne, all of whom have incredible comedic timing and the ability to convey genuine emotions.
Lovers of the novel will be relieved to learn that Tropper preserved memorable dialogue from the book, including the opening phone call between Judd and his sister. The official trailer (see below) shows how thoughtfully director Levy brought Tropper's characters to life. Despite any discrepancies or changes that had to be made for the movie, the characters' personalities on film seem to match what I remember from the book.
Those of you who are new to TIWILY are in for a treat. Based on the cast alone, I'd say this is going to be one of the don't-miss movies of the fall.
The Giveaway: Thanks to Warner Bros. Pictures, I'm happy to be able to offer one of my U.S. readers a fabulous prize pack consisting of a copy of the book This Is Where I Leave You (with the movie-tie in cover) and a $25 Visa card to use for buying tickets to see the movie! All you have to do to be entered for a chance to win is fill out the form at the end of this post. I'll pick a winner via random number generator on September 17. Once the winner has been confirmed, I'll erase all personal information from my computer.
After you've read the book, go see the movie (or see the movie first and read the book second). Then be prepared to talk about the story with your friends and family or, for more fun, join in the book and movie discussion on Twitter by searching for and using the hashtag #TIWILY. Whether you love or hate Judd's family, I bet you'll have a lot to say about the way the siblings interact and come together (or not) during stressful times.
For even more about This Is Where I Leave You, visit the movie's Facebook page, where you can connect with other fans; see posters, photos, and videos; and get behind-the-scenes information. Follow Warner Bros. on Twitter and Instagram to learn about the stars and keep up with the movie news (#TIWILY).
Finally, here's the form for the giveaway. Good luck to all my U.S. readers.