Depressed single mom Adele and her son Henry offer a wounded, fearsome man a ride. As police search town for the escaped convict, the mother and son gradually learn his true story as their options become increasingly limited.
A depressed mother's husband has left her for she could not bear a second child. Living alone with her only son, she has an unlikely meeting with an injured escaped convict, and reluctantly takes him into her own care. The man proves to be better than his criminal image as the three bond over Labor Day weekend. The only problem? Everyone in town is looking for him.
'Labor Day' begins in a broken American household. After his parents' divorce, a sensitive seventh-grader chooses to stay with his depressed mother rather than join his father's new family. Henry and Adele remain trapped in a sad, dysfunctional relationship as a child parenting a traumatized adult until they embark on a fateful shopping trip prior to a holiday weekend. They are accosted in a discount store by a threatening stranger, Frank, who demands they give him a ride in their car, and accompanies them to their dilapidated rural home. By the next morning it's apparent he's a dangerous escaped convict, and his departure has become impossible since a police dragnet has surrounded the area.
After this disturbing first act, the film soon leaves 'Desperate Hours/Straw Dogs' territory in the rear view mirror and enters a sunlit world similar to 'The Bridges of Madison County'. Frank confounds pessimistic expectations by coaching Henry in baseball skills, doing various household odd-jobs, servicing the car and baking peach pies. Before too long he's also healing Adele's aching loneliness with his peachy massage techniques. Fine performances from the three lead actors hold the film together, but can't prevent the story's drift into sentimentality and implausibility. The epilogue stretches any remaining credulity beyond belief as it panders to the feel-good requirements of a rich box-office harvest.
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