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Labor Day

By MICHAEL NORDINE
There’s no burger phone in Labor Day, but Jason Reitman’s film makes up for it with the most patently absurd baking sequence you’ll ever see. Frank (Josh Brolin), an escaped prisoner with a heart of gold, woos a dispirited single mother named Adele (Kate Winslet) over a dreamy weekend in 1987. Adele is all tics and stutters—you feel like Frank might knock her over just by breathing too heavily in her direction. Every potentially menacing thing that this on-the-lam Casanova says while politely kidnapping Adele and her seventh-grade son Henry betrays a certain sensitivity. Though you may wonder about his innocence—he’s a convicted murderer—the fact that he’s a standup guy is never called into question. Theirs is a culinary romance: Frank spoon-feeds her chili (she’s tied up at this point, natch), they interlock fingers while making a peach pie, and you won’t believe the soaring melody that accompanies Adele's first bite of his homemade biscuits. Though there’s something to be said for Reitman’s newfound sincerity, the self-satisfaction that colored his earlier efforts (Juno and Up in the Air especially) has merely been replaced by a self-seriousness that manages to be simultaneously humorless and laughable.
 
  • Genres: Drama
  • Running Time: 111 minutes
  • Release Date: Friday, December 27, 2013
  • Country: United States
  • Language: English
  • MPAA Rating: PG-13 [ Brief Violence, Sexuality, Thematic Material ]
  • Critic's Score: C-
  • Starring: Kate Winslet [Adele], Josh Brolin [Frank], Gattlin Griffith [Henry], Tobey Maguire [Older Henry/Narrator], Clark Gregg [Gerald], Dylan Minnette [Henry at 16], Brighid Fleming [Eleanor], Alexie Gilmore [Marjorie], Maika Monroe [Mandy]
  • Directed by: Jason Reitman [Director], Jason Reitman [Screenwriter], Lianne Halfon [Producer], Russell Smith [Producer], Jason Reitman [Producer], Helen Estabrook [Producer], Steven Rales [Executive Producer], Mark Roybal [Executive Producer], Michael Beugg [Executive Producer], Jeffrey Clifford [Executive Producer], Eric Steelberg [Cinematographer], Dana Glauberman [Film Editor], Rolfe Kent [Original Music], Steve Saklad [Production Design], Mark Taylor [Art Director], Tracey Doyle [Set Decoration], Danny Glicker [Costume Designer], Suzanne Smith-Crowley [Casting], Jessica Kelly [Casting]
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