With one of Kate Winslet's most layered, resonant performances, this film is definitely worth a look, even though the indulgent filmmaking style pushes it perilously close to Nicholas Sparks-style sappiness. Clearly, writer-director Jason Reitman (Juno, Up in the Air) is shifting gears as a filmmaker, but the movie is in dire need of just a hint of his usual jagged wit.
It's set in 1980s New Hampshire, as the agoraphobic Adele (Kate Winslet) is struggling to raise her sensitive teen son Henry (Gattlin Griffith) on her own after her husband (Clark Gregg) left. Then one night escaped convict Frank (Josh Brolin) arrives at their house in need of a place to hide. The next day, Frank offers to help with some repairs on the house. He also notices that Henry needs to learn how to throw a baseball. And that Adele needs some affection. So over the long Labor Day Weekend, he becomes the badly needed man of the house. Then when a neighbour (J.K. Simmons) and a cop (James Van Der Beek) start snooping, they make a plan to run for the Canadian border.
Instead of a dark, menacing edge, Reitman washes the film in sun-dappled earnestness, ramping up the soapy emotions rather than the grittier issues these people so badly need to deal with. This reaches a low point when Frank teaches Adele how to bake a peach pie in a scene reminiscent of the lusty pot-spinning sequence in Ghost: laughably ridiculous. Fortunately, Winslet and Brolin generate some uneasy chemistry, and Griffith is a fine young actor in a very difficult role. Together, they pull the film back from the sudsy brink just in time for a genuinely tense final sequence.
Continue reading: Labor Day Review
When Adele Wheeler lost her husband, her life started slowly deteriorating. Suffering from depression and having developed a slight tremor, she is rarely able to leave the house except for emergencies. When she finally has to face the streets to go last minute shopping with her 13-year-old Henry, they meet a scary-looking injured man named Frank who requests a lift to their house. Too frightened to argue, they accept and later discover that he is an escaped prisoner wanted for murder. However, the mother and son can't help feeling less and less frightened as the hours pass by when he shows them remarkable kindness, despite insisting on tying them up for his and their own safety. It's not long before Adele falls in love again and she, Frank and Henry embark on a dangerous adventure together to finally escape a world that has become so cruel to them - but will the threesome get away before the cops get suspicious?
This romantic drama is set in 1982 and is based on the novel of the same name by Joyce Maynard and has been written and directed by Jason Reitman ('Thank You for Smoking', 'Juno', 'Up in the Air'). 'Labor Day' made its premiere at the 2013 Telluride Film Festival and is set to be released in the UK on February 7th 2014.
Adele Wheeler is the single mother of 13-year-old Henry and suffers from depression, rarely leaving her house except for reasons she can't avoid. One of those reasons arises when she has to take Henry last minute school shopping over the Labor Day weekend at the end of the summer. Whilst out, they bump into Frank; a not so cuddly looking man who is bleeding profusely and asks for their help. Adele and Henry are hesitant to come to his aid, but eventually drive him to their home where the situation takes a strange turn when they become his hostages. It turns out that Frank is a convicted killer who has escaped jail and is desperate to get on the move in spite of his injuries. Initially terrified, Adele and Henry soon realise that they are not in any danger and help him win freedom once again.
Continue: Labor Day - Clip
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