Labor Day review by George Hooper - Cinema Paradiso
It’s never good to see a good director deliver less than what you know he is capable of. It’s not like watch a bad directors work hoping to be pleasantly surprised, it’s a unpleasant kind of shame you feel to entertain the notion that maybe their best work is behind them. While Labour Day is Jason Reitman’s first truly disappointing feature it doesn’t exactly scream a trend but to be clear, Labour Day is a disaster, a complete mess of poorly thought out plotting and illogical characters..
Labour Day follows Adele (Kate Winslet), a single mother in 1987 who is taking care of her son Henry (Gattlin Griffith) when Frank (Josh Brolin), a wanted criminal forces them to take him home when he appears to them bloodied and in need of assistance. However when they get back the relationship between Adele and Frank becomes complicated as the lines between hostage and captor start to blur as Frank’s past comes to light.
While the story seems interesting, much like last years Chained, a darker tale of captive and hostage, this is poorly put together soap opera material, a tale that is paper thin and borderline offensive in its themes and messages. While Frank may appear to be the man he wishes people would see the film fleshes him out in flashbacks that ultimately villainise him instead of humanise him.
Brolin fumbles around unsure of if Frank is really redeemable, never quite getting into the mans head in the right way with Winslet feeling out of place in this reverse stockholm syndrome drama. The film’s conclusion also dips into the tried and tested ending pot for a simplistic and narrow minded conclusion to a film that never really starts and almost certainly never once makes you love anything about Adele and Frank’s relationship