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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.
While making the peach pie and Adele puts the top on, peaches are squeezing out. But in the next shot, without fixing, the top is perfectly placed and Frank commends her on a perfect job. See more »
It was just the two of us after my father left. She said I should count the baby he had with his new wife Marjorie as part of my family too. Plus Richard, Marjorie's son. For the most part my mother never mentioned my father, or the woman he was married to now.
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Surprisingly entertaining for this time of movie year.
"I'm a lot stronger than you think." "I don't doubt that." Adele and Frank.
Director Jason Reitman is no stranger to unusual family stories (Juno) or character drama (Up in the Air), so his enjoyable Labor Day is a bit of both without the humor. Because this is January, a dead-zone time for releases, it's even more impressive as an audience-pleasing drama about an escaped convict Frank (Josh Brolin) and a mother he kidnaps, Adele (Kate Winslet), along with her 7th grade son, Henry (Gattlin Griffith).
Let's get the formula out now: she falls in love with her captor and the son willingly learns about life and baseball. The real life, however, is hounding them as the law closes in on their 5 days of "family" bliss. However, the authorities are too slow to stop the best family pie making scene ever, domestic stuff just one of charming murderer Frank's gifts and a Reitman specialty.
Recently Mud is similarly about the coming of age and criminal motif and Revolutionary Road with Winslet about a disintegrating family. Yet Reitman and novelist Joyce Maynard have crafted a story that slowly makes believable the growing love between captive and captor, a relationship helped by the classy acting chops of Winslet and Brolin. Although everyone knows helping an escaped criminal leads to serious jail time, this case actually cuts Adele a great deal of slack in the guilty category. As Reitman slowly reveals their mutually grim backgrounds, we are aware that her needs for the touch of a lover are so acute that even this gamble could be worth the risk.
Although Labor Day comes close to Nicholas Sparks' sentimental claptrap, Reitman preserves everyone's dignity, lets love grow, and ushers a kid into a complicated world of love and dangera labor of love, so to speak, on the film's titular weekend, typically American and hard work: "I sensed my inadequacy," says the adult Henry in voice over. In matters of the heart, we're all inadequate and need films like Labor Day to help us move on.
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