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Monday, September 9, 2013

Labor Day (2013)

During the Labor Day weekend of 1987, a young boy (Gattlin Griffith) and his agoraphobic mother (Kate Winslet) make their monthly trip to the grocery store. But a stranger (Josh Brolin), bleeding from a wound, coerces them into giving him a lift and he forces them to take him to their home where he can hide while the police are looking for him. It will be a Labor Day weekend that will change all their lives forever. The latest film from Jason Reitman (UP IN THE AIR) is an emotionally stirring piece of work. While it starts off a bit wobbly, it soon coalesces into an affecting coming of age story that slowly gives you glimpses of the complete tapestry before all the pieces are revealed and by the time of its heartrending conclusion, don't be surprised if you're fighting back the tears. But it's definitely not soppy or sentimental. Reitman doesn't manipulate us, the emotions come by honestly and accurately. As I wiped my own tears away, the woman sitting next to me, also crying, tapped me on the should and hugged me. It's that kind of movie. Winslet, in yet another performance that shows her to be one of the best actresses working today, is a lock for a best actress nomination and I'm the first to admit Josh Brolin doesn't appeal to me as an actor. Yet he connects to his role here in a way he's never done before. It's his best performance to date. With Tobey Maguire as the older Griffith (he also narrates the film), J.K. Simmons, James Van Der Beek, Brooke Smith and Maika Monroe and Clark Gregg.

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