Metascore
52

Mixed or average reviews - based on 43 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 43
  2. Negative: 6 out of 43
  1. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Jan 30, 2014
    50
    Even with the talent involved, almost everything about Labor Day plays less like something you’d buy a ticket to watch and more like something you’d buy in an airport bookstore to read.
  2. Reviewed by: Louis Black
    Jan 30, 2014
    67
    The film constantly plays against expectations. Reitman’s skilled direction of the superb cast allows the ridiculous to become poetic, the artificial to unfold naturally, the absurd to achieve a deep romantic resonance.
  3. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Jan 30, 2014
    38
    The movie’s a somber affair, but if you see it in the right frame of mind, it’s the guilty-pleasure hoot of the season.
  4. Reviewed by: Lawrence Toppman
    Jan 30, 2014
    67
    A melodrama that reaches the heart but hardly ever convinces the head.
  5. Reviewed by: Richard Roeper
    Jan 30, 2014
    88
    Labor Day is an admittedly strange hybrid. Rarely have I seen such outrageous plot points executed with such lovely grace.
  6. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Jan 30, 2014
    50
    Kate Winslet has such sound and reliable dramatic instincts (That Face doesn't hurt, either) she very nearly makes something of Adele.
  7. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Jan 31, 2014
    67
    We see him (Brolin) whip up a first-class chili, but his specialty is peach pie, which we watch him prepare so lovingly that I was surprised Reitman didn’t include the recipe in the end credits.
  8. Reviewed by: Dan Jolin
    Mar 17, 2014
    80
    A tender, nostalgic and warm ‘family’ drama which also quietly seethes with the threat and tension of imminent danger. Labor Day shows a new side to Jason Reitman as a filmmaker, and we like it.
  9. Reviewed by: Chris Nashawaty
    Jan 22, 2014
    50
    With his latest film, the mawkish and melodramatic Labor Day, Reitman has done an unexpected about-face: He's ditched Wilder for Douglas Sirk. And the swap doesn't do him — or his fans — any favors.
  10. Reviewed by: William Goss
    Sep 3, 2013
    77
    Jason Reitman’s adaptation of Joyce Maynard’s Labor Day is as consistently assured a piece of filmmaking as any we’ve seen from the filmmaker and very much in keeping with the decreasingly glib nature of his output.
  11. Reviewed by: Eric Kohn
    Sep 3, 2013
    83
    There's a certain elegant simplicity to the movie's execution that maintains a spirit of familiarity but also keeps the material afloat.
  12. Reviewed by: Betsy Sharkey
    Dec 26, 2013
    70
    The film finds its footing as the weekend progresses and the temperature and tension — outside and in — rise.
  13. 50
    For all its filmmaking care and care-worn performances, is nothing more than a beach book, inconsequential and utterly out of place in January.
  14. Reviewed by: Connie Ogle
    Feb 6, 2014
    50
    If you can get past the ludicrous fantasy — well, wait, that’s the problem. You can’t get past the ludicrous fantasy.
  15. Reviewed by: Rex Reed
    Jan 29, 2014
    100
    It resonates with delicacy, passion and restraint, touching the heart in places where cynics fear to go.
  16. Reviewed by: Lou Lumenick
    Jan 30, 2014
    75
    Winslet and Brolin have wonderful chemistry together, and Reitman makes well-worn metaphors like steamy weather and pie making (the film has been embraced by the American Pie Council) seem newly invented.
  17. Reviewed by: Bob Mondello
    Jan 31, 2014
    40
    Labor Day may be filled with autumn's falling leaves, but it makes sense that they're bringing it out as a prelude to spring, for the sap — and I do mean sap — is rising.
  18. Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    Jan 31, 2014
    88
    It is a yarn. But it's so full of passion, poetry, and humor that it becomes, for the time, quite real.
  19. Reviewed by: Marc Mohan
    Jan 30, 2014
    50
    While it's nice to see Reitman try to branch out from the hip, acerbic humor of "Juno" and "Young Adult," his clumsiness with this more earnest material is an unpleasant surprise.
  20. Reviewed by: James Berardinelli
    Feb 3, 2014
    50
    "Labor" isn't just a word in the title of Jason Reitman's new film, it's a description of what it feels like to sit through the movie.
  21. Reviewed by: Christy Lemire
    Jan 31, 2014
    38
    Actors of the caliber of Brolin and Winslet can do nothing but the best with what they're given, struggling to find nuance and humanity in romance-novel archetypes.
  22. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Jan 31, 2014
    50
    The pie looks delicious, but Labor Day feels stale.
  23. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    Jan 30, 2014
    50
    This is win-win for everybody, but it's too win-win - a setup that short-circuits drama, that shoehorns a situation into a precooked formulation: He's a real prisoner and she's an emotional prisoner, and each offers the other the possibility of freedom.
  24. Reviewed by: R. Kurt Osenlund
    Dec 23, 2013
    63
    A better film would have had the gumption to maintain the poetic bleakness, rather than steer toward what ultimately feels like safe compromise.
  25. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    Feb 3, 2014
    50
    A sluggish romantic drama
  26. Reviewed by: Joe Williams
    Jan 30, 2014
    75
    With Labor Day, director Jason Reitman turns a Nicholas Sparks scenario into an Alfred Hitchcock creep-show.
  27. Reviewed by: Steve Persall
    Jan 30, 2014
    50
    It's all bathetic enough for Labor Day to be subtitled The Prisons of Madison County.
  28. Reviewed by: A.A. Dowd
    Jan 29, 2014
    42
    Improbably, this saccharine melodrama comes courtesy of Jason Reitman, the Hollywood scion director who made "Juno" and "Up In The Air." Clearly, he’s chasing a change of pace, a hard right turn away from the sardonic redemption stories that have previously sported his byline and into the unfamiliar realm of Sirksian soap.
  29. Reviewed by: Scott Tobias
    Jan 29, 2014
    40
    Reitman has placed a not-unreasonable bet that sensual creatures like Winslet and Brolin can convey the passion necessary for their relationship to make sense, but the film carries itself too stiffly, like it’s so afraid of making the wrong choices that it doesn’t make any good ones.
  30. Reviewed by: Liam Lacey
    Jan 31, 2014
    50
    I can’t pardon Labor Day’s mush, not just because it’s mush, but because it comes with an unappetizing side order of condescension and contempt.
  31. Reviewed by: Catherine Shoard
    Sep 16, 2013
    60
    With its frank approach to the basics of human desire, its steady, intense focus on a small-town story which could have come straight from Douglas Sirk, Reitman's fifth feature appears to bear little resemblance the four that went before.
  32. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Sep 3, 2013
    90
    Reitman keeps a strong grip on all the aspects of the story to prevent it from becoming corny, unduly melodramatic or obvious.
  33. Reviewed by: Stephen Holden
    Jan 30, 2014
    30
    The movie’s principal saving grace is Ms. Winslet’s convincing portrayal of Adele, a despairing woman of low self-esteem just a twitch away from a nervous breakdown. In almost every other respect, this overbaked romantic hokum is preposterous.
  34. Reviewed by: Anthony Lane
    Jan 6, 2014
    60
    You can love the look of the movie and still not believe a single word of it. To be fair, the climax is surprisingly touching; somehow, the residents of this cooked-up tale manage to earn our pity and support.
  35. Reviewed by: Chris Willman
    Sep 3, 2013
    50
    A full-immersion exercise in the old-fashioned women's weepie that skews far closer to Nicholas Sparks' brand of contrivance than Diablo Cody territory.
  36. Reviewed by: Tim Robey
    Sep 16, 2013
    40
    Though pristinely faithful to Maynard's book, it blurs inexorably into Nicholas Sparks.
  37. Reviewed by: Cath Clarke
    Mar 18, 2014
    60
    What keeps this out of Nicholas Sparks bumper-paperback territory are terrific performances and Reitman’s control of the drama.
  38. Reviewed by: Joshua Rothkopf
    Jan 28, 2014
    40
    The film will do until "Fifty Shades of Grey" turns up. The more you think about Labor Day, the more calculating it gets.
  39. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Jan 30, 2014
    38
    Labor Day feels like a belabored, sappy slog.
  40. Reviewed by: Peter Debruge
    Sep 3, 2013
    70
    To the extent that Adele’s hunger for affection resonates with audiences, what emerges is a powerful — if implausible — romance.
  41. Reviewed by: Amy Nicholson
    Jan 28, 2014
    30
    Labor Day is so self-conscious and phony, it must be the work of a pod person. Humans, film lovers, and fans of Reitman's till-now-flawless filmography: We've gotta fight back.
  42. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Jan 30, 2014
    30
    Labor Day, adapted from a novel by Joyce Maynard, is the kind of movie that turns clarity into stultification; everything is perfectly clear and almost everything — pie-making excepted — is perfectly lifeless.
  43. Reviewed by: Ann Hornaday
    Jan 30, 2014
    50
    It’s difficult to believe a word of Labor Day, but then again you don’t have to in order to luxuriate in Winslet and Brolin’s bubbling, steaming chemistry.
User Score
6.7

Generally favorable reviews- based on 37 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 17
  2. Negative: 2 out of 17
  1. Jan 10, 2014
    3
    I'll admit that Jason Reitman is just not my guy. It does hit some odd tones along the way, which is something I generally enjoy. But there's an intense corniness to the melodrama of this movie that I find to be a strikeout, even if he was swinging for the fences by trying something offbeat. Full Review »
  2. Apr 28, 2014
    9
    Labor Day has a familiar vibe to it, I have seen bits and pieces of the story before, and I have seen similar characters on the big screen and on the small screen, but it is all about the direction and how the director decides to create deep characters, effective story and a heartbreak, Jason Reitman succeeds in all these things, thus making Labor Day one of the best movies of 2013. Labor Day is highly recommended! Full Review »
  3. Apr 17, 2014
    9
    With a special narration by Toby Maguire and despite a predictable ending, Labor Day successfully presents a melodrama film without too-over emotional. Another good performance from Kate Winslet. Full Review »