Labor Day (2014) – Review

Sometimes, in this game, you will watch a movie and really come away with little or nothing to say about it. Just sometimes, you want to watch something and not feel like you should pass judgement or comment on the thing. It’s not normally a good sign, as it usually means it hasn’t raised your hackles enough to rant about how utterly dreadful it was, or provided enough moments that you want to share gushingly with the world with regards to its sheer shiny wonderfulness.

And Labor Day was one of those. Now, anyone that has been reading this blog for some time will already know that I have a soft spot for the lovely Kate Winslet. In my eyes, it would take a movie of stupendously dire proportions (cough, Movie 43, cough) to knock her from the pedestal I so carefully placed her on and dutifully and lovingly polish every day, whilst making cooing noises at her lovely, lovely face. She’s lovely. Oh yes.

Anyway, the reviewer in me still feels stupidly guilty at watching something released in the past year or two and not writing at least something about it. I mean, if we can knock out seven hundred and fifty words on that Pompeii nonsense, doesn’t then one of my favourite actresses deserve at least a mention?

Alright, here we go then. Lovely Kate is raising her son on her own after her husband (Clark Gregg) leaves for another woman (clearly mad), creates a new family which her son is invited to dinner with once a week.

The thing is, Adele (Lovely Kate) is in the midst of a deep depression which makes her uncommunicative on occasion and prone to bouts of the shakes. As such, she rarely leaves the house. Her condition is not all consuming, however and she loves her son dearly, a fact to anyone with eyes is blatantly obvious.It is on one of these trips to the shops, during Labor Day weekend, that she and her son make what seems at first to be the rather unfortunate acquaintance of Frank (Josh Brolin) who it transpires, is an escapes convict, currently serving a lengthy sentence for the murder of his wife. But is he really the bad egg that the press reporting on his escape make him out to be?

What with one thing and another (a mild throttling of her son), Frank ends up getting a ride back to Lovely Kate’s house where he ingratiates himself by inexplcably doing some chores in return for their silence and somewhere to rest his head for the night, before intending to make for the train station in the morning.
One night turns into two nights and so on, and this half-hearted kidnapping becomes something of a moot point to all concerned as Adele and son Henry (Gattlin Griffith) oddly warm to the man that initially seemed to be just as dangerous as the authorities said. Henry, an only child, is just the right age to be all over the place mentally, discovering girls and having his head turned by elaborate plots about the new man in his mothers life. He is convinced that Frank will sweep up his mother and whisk her away, leaving him alone. He’s a sensitive chap, but we can probably put that down to puberty.
In all, this is a bit of non-event movie. Not alot really happens of any note. The acting by Lovely Kate is outstanding as always and the rest of the cast provide their fair share too, with Josh Brolin probably delivering his most likeable performance in some time, which is odd, given that he’s actually playing the part of a convicted murderer. A decent script does not rush and the plot is drip-fed to the audience who, as you might imagine, are not really there for the bells and whistles. It’s an interesting idea, this blossoming relationship, and the back story of Adele and Henry that unfolds is fascinating and gels everything together very well, when it may at first have seemed a little disjointed
Well made, well performed with perfectly acceptable direction from Jason Reitman, who let’s not forget, served us Up In The Air, Young Adult and Juno in the past few years. Altogether, this is a quality product, but you really have to be in the mood for it, as there are no prancing llamas or dancing bears in tutus anywhere.

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