Jason Reitman’s “Labor Day,” based on Joyce Maynard’s novel of the same name, is an effective coalition of scriptural cheesiness and cinematic brilliance. The films corky dialogue and incessant attempt at achieving an on screen intimacy between characters is overshadowed by its stunning cinematography and aesthetic appeal-making for a mediocre romance that anyone would be able to sit through without cringing at its flaws.
The film is set in a suburban Massachusetts town where everyone knows everyone and the next door neighbor is the State Farm guy. It taps into the daily life and struggle of a recently divorced (and severe depressed) woman, Adele (Kate Winslet,) her caretaker son, Henry (Gattlin Griffith) and their un-vocalized desire for a better/happier life. While shopping one evening, a scarce occasion for the duo, Adele and Henry are approached by a wounded man asking to seek refuge in their home. It later turns out that this man, Frank( Josh Brolin,) is an escape convict who was imprisoned for the “accidental” murder of his adulterous wife.
As is the fashion of most films in the romantic genre, the two unrealistically find comfort in the estranged mans presence as he takes shelter in their home over Labor Day weekend (hence the title.) One staircase patch, front door repair, and intimate pie making tutorial later-Frank is now considered a part of the family; a boyfriend to Adele and father to her son.
“Labor Day” is a film of two faces: it serves a large portion of awkward social encounters, predictable plot twists, and patchy character development to audience members, that is hard to overlook in some instances. However, its Oscar caliber camera work does aid the film to a passable extent.
Kate Winslet, in addition to the rest of the films cast, performed much better than expected. Their “average” physical appearance and easily emotionally swayed nature mimics that of real individuals. Instead of casting superficial looking models with chiseled jaw lines and perturbing muscles, the effective choice was made to cast individuals that look like the average joe. This gave viewers the chance to associate with the films characters on a more familiar level and did help the film in the long run.
At its core, Reitmans “Labor Day” is a mediocre film that will definitely resonate with the women in the audience and a great Valentines day flick