LA­BOR DAY

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - MOVIES -

Ja­son Reit­man ( Kate Winslet, Josh Brolin, Gat­tlin Griffi th, James Van Der Beek.

Di­rec­tor: Star­ring:

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.

CLOSE: La­bor Day.

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