, 111 m., 2013
Kate Winslet (Adele), Josh Brolin (Frank), Gattlin Griffith (Henry), Tobey Maguire (Adult Henry), Tom Lipinski (Young Frank), Maika Monroe (Mandy), Clark Gregg (Gerald), James Van Der Beek (Officer Treadwell), J.K. Simmons (Mr. Jervis), Brooke Smith (Evelyn), Brighid Fleming (Eleanor), Alexie Gilmore (Marjorie), Lucas Hedges (Richard), Micah Fowler (Barry), Chandra Thomas (Bank Teller). Directed by Jason Reitman and produced by Helen Estabrook, Lianne Halfon, Reitman, Russell Smith, and Nicole C. Taylor. Screenplay by Reitman, based on the novel by Joyce Maynard.
The buzz has been bad since last year’s festival circuit with negative report piling upon negative report for months. Well, now the returns are in and my verdict is…the emperor has no clothes. In this case, it’s the critics who are naked, not the filmmaker. Can you remember the last time so many critics, mainstream and non-mainstream alike, ganged up on a film as if it was a harbinger of the apocalypse only for the film itself to be not only not bad but quite good (I feel in the minority about Ridley Scott’s The Counselor, for example)? Yet nevertheless, the Tomatomator hovers around 30% with a Rotten majority, while the ever-so-slightly more forgiving Metacritic score is 51/100 with mostly mixed reviews. What in the hell is going on here?
Such as it is, Jason Reitman’s Labor Day is, in my humble opinion, far from the disaster it’s suggested to be. Reitman, adapting a novel by Joyce Maynard (of To Die For), tells the story of one Labor Day weekend in a small New England town, circa 1987. Adele (Kate Winslet, whose previous January release was her truly disastrous role in the ensemble kerfuffle known as Movie 43) is a divorced single mom raising her son Henry (Gattlin Griffith of Changeling, among other films) alone in a quiet, somber household in a pretty, rural suburb.