Movie Review : Labor Day

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Adele (Winslet) is a lonely and depressed single mother. Her husband Gerald (Gregg) left her years ago and now has a new wife and family. She has withdrawn almost completely from the world and thus relies heavily on her son Henry (Griffith) to run basic errands for her. But once a month or so, she does venture out to the local chain department store for necessities. It is during one such visit on the Thursday afternoon before the American Labor Day weekend that Henry encounters escaped criminal Frank (Brolin) and they are given no option but to take Frank home with them.

Once they are at Adele’s home, Frank is unfailingly polite but this is a hostage situation. He escaped from a local hospital after having his appendix removed and wants to rest for a few hours then be on his way once he feels he can evade the police. As the 2 adults start to talk, get to know each other if you will, the walls they have both built up start to slip away and they fall into a somewhat comfortable, if uneasy, groove.

Frank does not leave as he said he would, and the next day he tackles some handyman chores around the house, He also spends time with Henry, coaching him at baseball and doing dad /son things together. As Adele watches, you can almost see her emotional barriers slide in a heap to the floor. She starts to open up to Frank and Henry, via the narration of his older self (Maguire), begins to see his mother as a woman with needs and wants he can scarcely begin to articulate at his tender age.

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Clearly this unlikely pair are falling in love and what they previously thought was out of their reach is tantalisingly close. But he is a convict on the run and as he notes, the police will not stop looking for him. The pair hatch a plan to escape, Bonny and Clyde style, to Canada but nerves and suspicions may thwart their plans.

Okay…. so I loved this movie. I loved the slow, languid pace of this long, humid weekend. There was little dialogue and it relied on glances, emotions, hidden hands and hidden desires. The fact that Adele fell in love so quickly….and with a convicted murderer….left my movie companion shaking his head incredulously but……well that’s men for you.

Yes I can see how this sort of love story would not appeal to many but it appealed to me. To be honest, what really appealed to me was their stories. These were revealed with the same slowness as the rest of the movie. Frank’s was told in flashbacks throughout the movie while Adele’s was revealed over what must have been a few devastatingly painful hours. Once I knew their stories….the real ones not the perceived ones…. I was even more in love with them both.

It is true this movie requires you to suspend your disbelief…..much like you had to with The Lake House….but that doesn’t detract from how lovely it is. Finally hearing both stories will all but break your heart but it is so worth it.

Love Flick xx

Director :   Jason Reitman

Starring :  Kate Winslet, Josh Brolin,  Gattlin Griffith, Tobey Maguire, Tom Lipinski, Maika Monroe, Clark Gregg

Running Time :  111 minutes

Release Date :  6 February, 2014

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