Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Labor Day

Starring: Kate Winslet, Josh Brolin, James Van Der Beek, Gattlin Griffith, Tobey Maguire
Director: Jason Reitman
Running Time: 1 hour, 51 minutes
Rating: PG-13

Kate Winslet is the new Meryl Streep. She buries herself in roles, not taking her appearance into any consideration, and emotionally connects with her audience every time. She makes it look effortless. She also seems to find herself always playing characters that have an "itch," or as my colleague said “a look of longing.” This is especially true in “Labor Day,” as agoraphobic, single mom Adele, who falls for rugged ex-con Frank. Adele’s son Henry even falls for Frank as a father figure, and though the story is incredibly hokey, I really enjoyed it. Unfortunately, if you’ve seen previews for this movie, you’ve essentially seen the whole thing.

We meet Adele as she is struggling to get over the loss of love, more so than the loss of her marriage. Frank first appears to us in a threatening manner, approaching young Henry in a drug store and demanding that they give him a ride to their house. He soon reveals that he has just escaped from prison, where he was serving time for murder. Great! Flashbacks throughout the film explain that there's more to his story. When he first arrives to their house, he ties Adele up (in case the police come looking for him there) and proceeds to feed her a bowl of chili. Suspend your disbelief, folks.

The film takes place somewhere up North, but perhaps in a fictional town, in 1987. We know by the title that it’s Labor Day weekend, and apparently still very hot. Adele and Frank glisten with sweat throughout the film, letting the circulating fans blow their hair seductively. The two are irresistible to one another. Tobey Maguire’s narrating voice as grown-up Henry is a random, welcoming surprise. Gattlin Griffith portrayed Young Henry, and was a bit static, but we feel for this character, growing up with a depressed mother and beginning to go through “the change.”

If anything, this movie will make you crave a peach pie. The care in the steps they took to make this dessert was beautiful, though it would have been more sensual had young Henry not been tossing the juicy peaches with them. It’s a pretty unbelievable story, but if you really suspend your disbelief, you’ll enjoy it.

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