Ok guys, there is no way around it. Between now and February 14th, whenever your wife says “let’s go to the movies” there will be no Hercules, Thor, or car crashes; it will be Labor Day.
Ok guys, there is no way around it. Between now and February 14th, whenever your wife says “let’s go to the movies” there will be no Hercules, Thor, or car crashes; it will be Labor Day and watching Josh and Kate bake a pie. So just man up and do the right thing. You can get your action fix after the 15th. But also know that this film offers more than just the run of the mill romantic drama. You will find some substance and a nudge to examine your own life.
Adele (Kate Winslet) is a single mother battling her own personal demons. She and her son (Gattlin Griffith) have a routine in their lives and for them it works fine. When Frank (Josh Brolin), a stranger on the run from police, invades their home over Labor Day weekend they find that life deals you cards that are tough but in the end may hold freedom. Mother and son have to find solidarity like never before and the stranger must convince them of his true nature.
The film is based on the popular novel by Joyce Maynard. She has a way of scripting characters that have much depth and realism to them. This film works well because you get layers to the characters and not just one dimensional roles. Most romantic dramas utilize only the emotion of the moment and not the driving force of humanity. They seldom give you more than simply what is needed to drive the story. Here we get so much into the person that the story becomes even more powerful.
Frank is a man’s man who must try really hard to win over his captives. As the story progresses we get glimpses into his past along with Adele. The two find that they can heal each other if they are willing to take the right risks. You instantly get the idea of what sort of man Frank is if you watch closely. There are subtle nuances’ to what he says and does that again go back to the solid writing.
It is directed by Jason Reitman another factor that makes this more than just a one off date flick. Reitman captures each moment, facial expression, and emotion to give his characters life and vision. There are a lot of elements in this film and his job was to streamline them in such a way that the story gets told without becoming overwhelming. He succeeds.
There is also something special about the way the film focuses on the importance of the family unit. It isn’t heavy handed but still shines a light on the need for human interaction for healing. There is much heartache here but it is overcome by hope. Hope that can be nurtured by taking chances.
Labor Day is rated PG-13 for thematic material, brief violence and sexuality. It is a very clean film but the themes and dramatic material make it geared for adults. It is one of the most perfect date night films to come around in sometime. One that is not just fluff and eye rolling emoting, but one that beats with strong characters, perfect acting, and a uncommon depth of writing for this genre. I give it 4 out of 5 long weekends. A surprise film that holds so much more than the trailer alludes to.
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