Review this movie
Jan 10, 2014I'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.
Feb 4, 2014Kate Winslet plays a separated mother with serious issues. She's struggling to cope with a troubled past, while raising her son (Gattlin Griffith). One afternoon, they're intimidated by an escaped convict (Josh Brolin) who forces his way into their home…and ultimately, their lives. The inevitable relationships are pretty obvious from the start, but it's watching them develop that gives the movie its weight. Although it moves slowly, the solid performances and Jason Reitman's controlled direction make for a sweet, slightly pretentious but compelling drama.… Expand
Jan 9, 2014This truly caught me off guard. Jason is an excellent writer, but I don't how Brolin and Winslet would mesh on screen. Under all of the glitz, glamour, explosions, in your face type cinema, this simplistic, yet very tense drama is oldschool: Great writing, great acting, excellent cinematography.
Jan 31, 2014I very seldom read reviews before going to see a movie preferring to read them after. All I needed to know was that this movie : 1) was a lover story as I am a sucker for them, 2) Kate Winslet was starring 3) as was Josh Brolin, so off I went.
After reading the critic’s reviews for “Labor Day” I felt they were very unfair and may drive away an audience that would like it. Upfront just let me say that it is not a Must See movie, or a classic, but it is a good old fashioned love story without the ‘F’ word being used or showing sex acts on the screen--that in itself is rare for a film today. Yes it is rated PG-13 for the theme, sexuality in the sense that a man and woman become lovers, very brief violence and, possibly, a bathroom scene. This is a Hollywood film where the woman lead is a neurotic (Was there any other kind in the old love story films?) and the man lead is masculine, caring, loving, a father figure and, in spite of escaping from prison, is an upstanding man.
Kate Winslet plays Adele who is almost catatonic after 3-4 miscarriages and her husband leaving her while her adolescent son, Henry, played by Galttin Griffith, has, more or less, become her caretaker. They are both persuaded, when Adele takes a rare outing to get some new school clothes for Henry, in a somewhat threatening way by Frank, Josh Brolin, who has just jumped out of a hospital after an appendix operation. What kind of movie would it be if Adele said no to athe good looking man.
Within 24 hours Frank makes himself at home in more than one way. He washes and waxes a floor, teaches Henry and a neighbor’s son in a wheel chair, played by Micah Fowler, how to play baseball, looks at a cord of firewood and tells Adele she has been shortchanged, teaches Henry how change a tire but, most important of all, makes chili and feeds Adele spoonful by spoonful and involves her and Henry it making a delicious looking pie! Heck I would want to marry him! Before you know it they are planning to run away to Canada and start a new life as a family.
We also meet Adele’s ex-husband, Clark Gregg, who is married and has a new family and doesn’t pay too much attention to his first born and a new girl in town played by Brighid Fleming who may or may not to be a troublemaker but you won’t find out. She does supply some much needed comedy relief.
The director/writer Jason Reitman errs in making the picture too long by about 10 minutes, introducing a shocking scene between Brooke Smith as the mother and Micah Fowler and then completely ignoring it. He also completely misdirects the flashbacks at times no one never knowing whether it is Adele’s or Frank’s story we are seeing .
Watching Brolin and Winslet is always a treat and they have enough chemistry to make many unbelievable scenes believable. Their faces are so interesting to watch that when you see younger versions of them though they may resemble the adults their faces are blanks.
It is worth seeing if for no other reason to find how they get a ‘happy Hollywood ending’ for “Labor Day”.… Expand
Dec 27, 2013In essence Labor Day is just a sweet romance. All very tastefully done and starring Kate Winslet in another effortlessly nuanced performance. She plays a single mother who finds love with an escaped convict who holds both her and her teenage son hostage in their own home. Josh Brolin is good as the convict but pitted against Winslet he is some what eclipsed. Flashbacks provide us with the back ground to both these characters and allow us to understand why they are in their current situations, but the movie is best when following the thrust of the main narrative. These flashbacks are, in fact, the least successful aspect of the film being only of sporadic interest. Brolin's past is signposted a mile off and Winslet's isn't particularly revealing.
The film does have a nice gentle tone to it which leads to an expected and inevitable conclusion. However, some satisfactorily added scenes gives us a coda which, if conventional, is still moving.
Gattlin Griffith who plays Winslet's son is very good, his expressive face bringing great maturity to his performance.… Expand
Dec 27, 2013Beneath the dopey plot, there are the performances. Winslet, Brolin and Griffith remain, through it all, very effective. Their profound sadness somehow manages to break through. Out of respect to this I am hesitant to call ‘Labor Day’ and all out failure. I do, however, recommend almost any other activity for your day off.
Jan 11, 2014This is a unique, very artistic film. The cinematography focuses on a soulful, subtle and nuanced direction and the sound-score is mesmerizing. They each reflect the underlying emotion and tension of every scene. Jason's choice to direct such a different kind of film gives him great merit ... and the result is a multi-layered, rich very moving film that takes one in a myriad of emotional directions. He deserves great credit for this risk-taking, as well as for his thorough, thoughtful and extremely artistic direction. Cynics will not like this film. Mature folks with deep life experiences will understand its power. A remarkable film ... ahead of its time.… Expand
Feb 1, 2014This eloquently simple, yet passionately tense movie is something to be remembered. The breathtaking cinematography beautifully meshes with the closeness of the characters' captured emotions in which you can't help but accredit to the perfect chemistry of the cast. Labor Day is ingeniously refreshing compared to what we consider to be "Box-Office Hits" today. Also, if you've read the book, it adds an intense appreciation for the important, minor details of this movie.… Expand
Feb 7, 2014This review is more related to the characters and the theme of the movie which I found it quite interesting. I am taking the liberty of looking at the roles of the characters from my own perspective rather than the movie-maker's. I see three main characters in this movie- Adele, Frank (escaped convict) and Gerald (ex-husband). Even though the movie-makers may have wanted us to focus more on the first two but I see all 3 of them equally prominent.
Adele is a dreamer. Apparently she did not go along well with her ex-husband, most likely because of her idealistic demands from the relationship; therefore she ends up living an isolated life filled with hardships and lack of protection. Apparently, she takes the legal custody of her son and gives him his share of whatever she chose for herself. The most disturbing thing about her character is the fact that she falls for an escaped convict who has not even talked about his past to her. Interestingly, Frank never reveals to her under what circumstances he gets his sentence, nor does she make any serious attempt to dig into his past but allows herself to be drifted in to a romantic world just because she is impressed by his household chores and man's jobs. What's worse is the fact that she lets her son grow in his company as well and decides to move to another country and live life of an outlaw and chooses the same for her son as well. She doesn't seem to care much about her son's schooling as well. It may look romantic if you are a teenager but it's just so hard to swallow if you are a parent. And, people who think that going to Canada is just like crossing the state line need to know that one cannot cross international border without a passport, and thus without revealing your true identity. That may be actually a flaw in the movie itself.
Frank is an honest man, a victim of circumstance. Wrongfully convicted of something he never did or intended to do. There are many prisoners in the USA who are serving punishments for the crimes they never did. He is a caring guy and brings joy to people around him. He gets his reward at the end of his sentence- company of a woman who he loves.
Gerald is a responsible father and a responsible husband and believer of long lasting relationships. It may seem initially that he is flamboyant because he made an affair with his secretary. But the fact that he ends up marrying her and raising a family with her plus taking care of the children that she brought along with her from her previous marriage, more than clears Gerald's image. He admits to his son that he probably wasn't the 'ideal guy' his mother had dreamt of. So he broke up and got in to a more doable relationship. He plays his role as father well. He takes Henry out with the rest of his family every weekend. He is keen to know who his ex-wife is hanging out with for the sake of his son, and is always there for his son at all the milestones of his life. Gerald is more realistic than emotional and is far happier in his not so complicated world than Adele.… Expand