Review: Labor Day


Release Date: April 29, 2014.
MPAA Rating:PG-13
Runtime:111 min
Director:Jason Reitman
Studio:Indian Paintbrush and Mr. Mudd
Stars:Kate Winslet, Josh Brolin, Gattlin Griffith
Your Rating: (2.5 out of 5 stars)

Labor Day is a new drama from Director Jason Reitman (also known for Juno) starring Josh Brolin and Kate Winslet. It’s starts with a mother lost in deep depression and her son being forced to take an escaped convict to their home and help him hide out until he can leave town. The love deprived mother, Adele, begins to allow this wanted man in to her heart and they grow to love each other. Will their love be able to conquer the truth of his past ? Will the Police catch him before they can have a happy ending?

The premise seemed interesting to me as I anticipated watching this movie. Everything I heard about the film going in gave off a Stockholm Syndrome type of vibe. The love story portion of it seemed a bit ridiculous as these two strangers fell in love in a matter of days, 5 to be exact.Even with the initial kidnapping and forced aiding and abetting of herself and her child she looks past his murder conviction, escape from prison, and willingness to manhandle and threaten her family and neighbors to fall for him. Insanity and outright bad parenting aside, they do seem to genuinely love each other and it comes through in the performances of Brolin and Winslet. Winslet plays the traumatized shut in Adele Wheeler with subtlety and grace. Never over doing it with the neurosis but laying it on just enough to show how damaged she is. Brolin is good in his role but I think the character had to jump to extremes at times too quickly. One moment he’s baking pies and making love to Adele and the next he’s snatching her around the neck to keep Henry from saying anything to neighbors. I kind of wished he stayed the same person in those situations. Gattlin Griffith plays the teenager coming of age Henry very well here. He is a bit awkward due to living with his mother and her condition. There’s also the ever so fun puberty stage where he’s getting interested in girls. This makes the situation with Brolin’s Frank, Adele, his Father and his new family all the more confusing. It was weird though that they picked up Tobey Maguire to play an older version of Henry for like a total of 5 minutes.

All in all, Labor Day left a lot to be desired for this viewer as it seemed it never really reached the point it was meant to. I just kept waiting for this drama to seem more dramatic.The actors chosen were fantastic and all but it seemed like the Director wasn’t quite capable of getting the feel just right. Labor Day could have but didn’t tug hard enough at the heart strings of this reviewer.