REVIEW: ‘Labor Day’ leaves crowds disappointed

REVIEW: ‘Labor Day’ leaves crowds disappointed

Photo: YouTube

Genre:  Drama | Run Time: 111 min | Rated: PG-13
Director: Jason Reitman | Starring: Kate Winslet, Josh Brolin, Gattlin Griffith

By: George Wolf

Walking out of the preview screening for Labor Day, a woman behind me remarked, “I don’t know..I need action, a hook in the back or something!”

So, while the film won’t please the “hook in back” demographic, it will also let down fans of writer/director Jason Reitman, who makes a curious left turn into overcooked melodrama.
Adapted from the source novel by Joyce Maynard, it is a story told in flashback narration by Henry (Tobey Maquire), recalling one memorable Labor Day weekend from his youth.

While shopping with his mother Adele (Kate Winslet), young Henry is approached by Frank (Josh Brolin), an escaped convict on the run. Quietly forcing his will upon them, Frank takes refuge in their New Hampshire home, nursing the wounds from his jailbreak and slowly becoming a savior to both mother and son.

The breakdown of her marriage has left Adele constantly depressed, and left Henry without a strong male role model. How fortunate that Frank cooks, fixes most anything, knows baseball, swears he’s not the monster the papers say he is, and oh, yeah, simmers with sexuality.

As does most of the film, juxtaposing Adele’s clear ache for a man with young Henry’s exploding hormones. It’s all very earnest and obvious, miles away from the brilliant edge Reitman brought to every other feature he’s done (Thank You for Smoking, Juno, Up in the Air, Young Adult).

It makes you wonder just what inspired Reitman to film this story, one that is equal parts Douglas Sirk and Nicholas Sparks. Perhaps it was just the challenge of elevating it, to see if his talents, combined with those of strong actors, could give it resonance.

While Labor Day is indeed better for all of their efforts, the air of disappointment lingers.


Read more movie reviews at

Recent Headlines

in Entertainment

Today in entertainment history: Dec. 1


A look at the Hollywood headlines that went down in history.

in Entertainment

HOLIDAY TV: What to watch this week


This week is packed with programs to get you in the holiday spirit.

in Entertainment

Bono, Clooney, Kardashian part of all-star campaign for AIDS

FILE - In this March 2, 2014 file photo, Bono arrives at the Oscars at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. A New York City doctor says U2 singer Bono suffered multiple fractures and had to have two surgeries after his weekend bicycle accident. Orthopedic trauma surgeon Dr. Dean Lorich says Bono underwent a five-hour surgery on his elbow in which three plates and 18 screws were inserted on Sunday night. Bono had another surgery to repair a fracture to his left pinkie on Monday. Lorich says Bono will need therapy but a full recovery is expected.

Bono is a launching an all-star campaign featuring "once-in-a-lifetime experiences" like walking the red carpet with Meryl Streep or visiting the "Game of Thrones" set.