Starring: Josh Brolin, Kate Winslet, Gattlin Griffith, Tobey Maguire, Clark Gregg, James Van Der Beek, J.K. Simmons
Directed by: Jason Reitman
Synopsis: Depressed single mom Adele and her son Henry offer a wounded, fearsome man a ride. As police search town for the escaped convict, the mother and son gradually learn his true story as their options become increasingly limited.
Labor Day, whilst being extremely normal, is also pretty strange at the same time. Perhaps the strangest thing about the film is how Jason Reitman, director of the likes of Juno and Up In The Air, came to direct it. This film is certainly a departure from the type of cynical but likeable indie movies Reitman makes.
It is based on a book by Joyce Maynard, and is the story of a lonely single mum (Winslet) and her son (Griffith) being held captive by an ex-con on the run (Brolin). Except, the ex-con, Frank, is really rather nice. So nice in fact that the mum, Adele, falls in love with him.
The reason the film is strange is, as most reviewers have pointed out, the rather odd moments featuring Frank as convict-turned-domestic goddess. He fixes cars and walls, cleans gutters, waxes floors and, to top all that off, he’s a mighty fine chef too! He cooks dinner from scratch, and make darn fine Peach Cobbler as well. In fact, if you asked me who the main character in this story is, I would skip Winslet and Brolin and say Peach Cobbler. It crops up all over the place! Like I said, strange!
The film as a whole is pretty weak. The romance side of it I just didn’t buy into at all (I mean, everything in the film happened in three days)! The performances were fine, including that of Henry, Adele’s young son, but to be honest, if the film had any good bits, they didn’t show up until well past the hour mark, by which time I had already made my mind up that this was a bit of a turkey. Which is a shame because I have loved all of Reitman’s films up to this point.
I think I can see what Reitman was trying to do with the film. It had the look and feel at times of some sort of rites of passage eighties flick like Stand By Me, but ultimately it was let down by far to many cringe inducing moments.