Labor Day (2014)

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run time: 111 mins
rated: PG
considered: Drama
starring: Kate Winslet, Josh Brolin, Gattlin Griffith, James Van Der Beek

movie summary: In a small New Hampshire town during the summer of 1987, Adele Wheeler (Kate Winslet) and her son Henry (Gattlin Griffith) welcome an unexpected guest that will change their life forever, during Labor Day weekend.

For many people who don’t know, Labor Day is the first Monday of September in the US and marks the beginning of the school year the following day. Adele and Henry are out shopping the Thursday before the long weekend when a shady man wearing a bloody white t-shirt approaches and requests to be taken to their home. Once the three check out and get into the car, Adele has the radio on when the news bulletin reports that Frank Chambers (Josh Brolin) has escaped from the hospital after surgery.

When they get home, Frank plans to lay low and then walk a few blocks to the train tracks and hop the next train out-of-town. Only problem is the train doesn’t come until 4am the next morning, so Adele agrees to let Frank stay as long as he promises not to hurt them. He agrees but ties her up to a chair in the kitchen to make sure they understand he is in charge. He begins to search the house for ingredients to make dinner, he gets Henry to help out and makes a pretty fancy meal for the three of them. When night-time approaches Frank ties Adele to her bed and sleeps on the couch waiting for the next train whistle.

The train never comes so the next morning Adele explains that it won’t be coming through because of the long weekend. In exchange for a place to stay Frank begins to do chores around the house like fix the car, clean the gutters, fix the rock wall out back, and teach Henry to do a few things like throw a baseball. Adele is grateful for the help because she has been extremely depressed with shaky hands, that she can’t control, ever since her husband left a few years ago. She admires Frank for how nice he is and how great he is treating Henry. She wants to know his story and why he got sent to prison.

The pair begin to form a romantic bond over the next four days which makes Adele the happiest she’s ever been in her life. Frank knows the cops will not stop looking for him so convinces Adele and Henry to pack up their life and move to Canada with him, which they both agree to. Henry takes a moment to write his dad a letter and drop it off to him early Tuesday morning. On his way back Officer Treadwell (James Van Der Beek) stops him and asks him why he’s not in school. The cop escorts Henry back and searches the house only to come up empty. Once Treadwell leaves, the trio must hurry and pack the car because the window to leave may be closing faster than they think.

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(Of course he would wear a Red Sox hat)

my thoughts: Funny story happened on the way to Labor Day, my buddy and I were going to see That Awkward Moment when another friend of ours wanted to see it, but was at work until 6pm. We had three hours to kill and ended up choosing Labor Day for something to do. This wouldn’t have been my first choice to watch, but was seriously the only movie out right now that I haven’t seen. At least I wasn’t the only one second guessing this movie, there was 12 other people in the theatre with us. Ouch.

I did find Labor Day to be an interesting movie for one reason, and one reason only, it portrays a small town in 1980’s New Hampshire, where I am originally from. It was nice to see old NH license plates, a Route 106 sign, and a few other home references. The movie itself is a mixed bag of scenes all rolled into a long drawn out story about second chances. I had to explain to my friend about the flashbacks because the movie shifted gears from past and present so many times someone could easily get confused. One minute he’s young, then in the army, then young again, now a father, in the army, father, in jail. It made sense but then didn’t make sense. I wish they wrote the story with limited flashbacks, and when they do actually go back in time, its longer then 30-40 seconds. Great movies find a combination and blend it together perfectly, this movie had no such luck and that’s why it gets such a low star rating.

There will only be a small group of people who like this movie, and even they will admit it wasn’t great, but don’t waste your time or money at the theatre and wait to watch this from home. You’ll be far more comfortable on your couch when you fall asleep then a movie theatre seat.

my star rating: 2 out 10

 

photo courtesy of http://www.imdb.com
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One thought on “Labor Day (2014)

  1. Good review Ryan. I was interested in seeing what Reitman could do with this material of his, because it’s quite clear that he’s trying hard to work outside of his comfort-zone. Which I was fine with, but there is a better way to do so.

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