Release year: 2013
Director: Jason Reitman
Screenwriter: Jason Reitman, Joyce Maynard (Novel)
Starring: Kate Winslet, Josh Brolin, Gattlin Griffith, Tobey Maguire, Tom Lipinski, Clark Gregg, James Van Der Beek
Henry and his depressed mother meets wounded Frank who is in desperate need of a ride and a place to hide. As their small town searches for a runaway convict, Frank begins to fulfil a hole in their lives and things get complicated.
Jason Reitman’s fifth directorial effort stands out a mile from the rest. Although not two of his films are alike, they all share a trait in that they are funny, ranging from the highly satirical Thank You for Smoking (2005) to the subtle comedy of Up in the Air (2010). Labor Day isn’t. Instead it’s as rich and sweet as a proper peach pie. Gattlin Griffith (Changeling 2008) plays Henry (voiced as an adult by Tobey Maguire), who chooses to live with his depressed mother (Kate Winslet, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind 2004) instead of his father (Clark Gregg, The Avengers 2011) and his new family following their divorce. As a result, it is Henry who looks after his mother rather than theother way around and thetwo of them live very excluded lives, apart from their weekly visit to the supermarket and Henry’s weekly dinner with his dad and his new family. So when escaped convict Frank (Josh Brolin, No Country for Old Men 2007) forces his way into their lives t,he resluts are dramatic. At first, the plot turn offers suspension and drear, but is soon followed by a sweet drama when Frank begins to fill the hole left in Henry’s, and particular his mother’s life. The final half of Labor Day will be too sweet for some’s taste, but it is done so well, with such a warm and wonderfully realised setting that it is well worth a watch. Served best with plenty of peach pie à la mode.
After Josh Brolin and Kate Winslet agreed to do the movie, director Jason Reitman and Brolin waited over a year for Kate Winslet to be available before shooting began.
Picture copyright: UIP