Jason Reitman ( Kate Winslet, Josh Brolin, Gattlin Griffi th, James Van Der Beek.
SOME people might say a terminal shut- in like Adele Wheeler ( Kate Winslet) should get out more often. Those people would be wrong.
Just look what happens when this jumpy single mother does open the front door for a rare foray into the outside world.
All it took was for her young son Henry ( Gattlin Griffi th) to linger too long in the wrong aisle in the wrong department store. Now the pair fi nd themselves being held hostage in their home by a convicted killer on the run.
So begins Labor Day, an unusually focused yet noticeably fragile romantic drama from acclaimed director Jason Reitman ( Up In The Air, Thank You for Smoking).
The story, adapted from a novel by American author Joyce Maynard, is just as capable of intriguing as it is irritating. The premise immediately gets you in and gets you wondering where it will be heading. But certain stops along the way will get on your nerves.
You will know within 10 minutes whether you will be buying what this mildly mercurial fi lm is selling.
The mugshot of Frank Chambers ( Josh Brolin) is all over the news and the police are all over the neighbourhood looking for him.
Like any fugitive fresh out of captivity, Frank is not working to a strategic plan. Making a run for it – by jumping out a hospital window while getting treatment for appendicitis – was the plan.
All Frank knows is he needs to lie low until the coast is clear. He assures Adele and Henry they will come to no harm if they just let him hang around for a few days.
Frank doesn’t look like a man who should be trusted. Nevertheless, Adele takes him at his word. Perhaps only because she forgot how to trust any man a long time ago.
It is no spoiler to divulge an attraction rapidly forms between the pair. And then, something more.
The fi ner details of how this seemingly mismatched coupling comes to pass are tantalisingly unspoken for the most part – largely because the story is fi ltered through young Henry’s delicately innocent perspective.
While Labor Day can strain credibility to the point of becoming totally corny at times, the simple, relatable chemistry worked up by Winslet and Brolin immediately picks up the fi lm after any bad stumbles.
Most of the fl aws arise from Reitman’s clunky use of fl ashbacks, which often squander a lot of hard- earned narrative momentum for precious little return.