How bad could this be? There are solid leads in Winslet and Brolin, there's a two-time Oscar nominated director in Reitman behind the camera, and the last adaptation of a Joyce Maynard book was the none-too-shabby To Die For. But Labor Day's release day was delayed and delayed, which is never a good sign around Oscar season (our own IFCO classified it last August). Why such a delay? How bad can this be?
urns out not too bad at all. It's not brilliant and can take the easy road too often but it's a touching yarn.


ate Winslet plays the depressed single mother of Gattlin Griffith, a sensitive teen who has tried to make his mother happy since his father (Clark Gregg) left; the divorce shook Winslet who has retreated into herself to such an extent she doesn’t leave their rundown house. The staid life gets an injection of danger when prison escapee Josh Brolin kidnaps them during a rare shopping excursion, and forces them to hide him over the titular weekend. As the days pass, Brolin assumes the father and husband role both were secretly begging for...
een through the eyes of Griffith's teen, Reitman explores that fear of being unwanted when parents go their separate ways, but in doing so can veer widely from the subtle (a two shot of Winslet and Griffith would, after a slight pan, turn into a shot of Winslet and Brolin) to the laughably obvious.
o sooner has the saintly Brolin 'moved in' he’s fixing the dry rot, changing the car oil, and teaching Griffith to play baseball. In making a peach pie, Brolin asks for assistance with a top player of pastry: 'Help me put a roof on this house.' Urgh. You can argue that Winslet falls in love with the idea of Brolin rather than him but their romance happens all too quickly.
ut Labor Day is a gentle, melancholic movie that slips along doing nice things for people and a solid Brolin, Winslet and Griffith help it through its lesser scenes.
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