Movie Review: Labor Day (2013)

Published On February 22, 2014 » 1494 Views» By admin »

LaborDayMoviePoster3.5 stars

Labor Day is the latest movie centered on star crossed lovers that is guaranteed to satisfy any Nicholas Sparks fan, and make any man dragged to the theater by his girlfriend pray for a quick death.

The movie starts off by centering on 13-year-old Henry Wheeler (Gattlin Griffith), who is the man of his single mom’s house. His mother, Adele Wheeler (Kate Winslet) is very close to being a recluse who is also overprotective. When the two go back to school shopping, they meet Frank Chambers (Josh Brolin), who convinces the two to bring him back to their house. Later, they learn that Frank is an escaped convict, who also just happens to be innocent.

The movie has a good premise and all of the characters are delightfully broken. Over the course of the long Labor Day weekend, the three grow closer together. Unfortunately, jealousy sets in for little Henry and soon the fuzz is hot on their tales.

As an added bonus to this sentimental movie, there is a ton of cooking tips that I am planning on trying. Like adding brewed coffee to ground-beef chili or scattering of tapioca beads over the bottom of a pie crust to ward off sogginess

LABOR DAY

The sentimentality is laid on a little thick for my taste. In certain points, the symbolism drags and gets a little too in your face. Like when Adele learns there might be more to Frank when he tosses a ball with her son. The game of catch is possibly the most over used clichés in father son bonding movies.

In addition, I didn’t find the scenes where they were tied up erotic at all. I found them downright creepy.

However, when it came to film work and direction, the movie was beautifully made. Writer/director Jason Reitman managed to blend flashbacks with current scenes in a way that allowed the story to unfold without making it drag. In addition, numerous subplots are worked into the film without bogging it down with too much information.

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I felt that Kate Winslet’s Adele was a bit flat. She was supposed to be playing a reclusive depressive, but it seems that she elected to play it by not feeling anything at all. Josh Brolin was equally one dimensional, as a gentle, misunderstood escaped convict. It seemed weird that he would have been able to escape from prison in the first place. I imagine he just politely asked the warden to open the door.

Griffith did a good job as young Henry Wheeler, and played the part with wary preciousness. He is going to be a talent to watch in the next few years.

The ending, while uplifting, felt tacked on and didn’t really match the rest of the movie. In fact, I’d be willing to wager that there was an alternate ending that was less uplifting, and was scrapped, because the producers thought it might be a downer.

Does Labor Day live up to the hype? Not entirely and it probably won’t appeal to all audiences. For fans of movies like the Notebook, this will probably be considered a win. However, for the people that were dragged to the Notebook, expect a painfully long repeat. At 111 minutes, it will feel about as long as a Labor Day weekend.  Here is the trailer below.



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