'Labor Day' is sweet but lacks realistic premise

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By Becca Owsley

It’s not that the folks in Hollywood aren’t trying to make romance movies these days; it just seems they’ve forgotten how to make good ones.

“Labor Day” has all the right pieces to make a good romance, but loses something in the middle.

The movie falls somewhere between a romantic chick flick and a coming-of-age film. The story might have been more impactful if it had just been one or the other.

Young Henry, played by Gattlin Griffith (“Green Lantern”), lives with his single mother who is suffering from depression. He does all he can to keep her sprits up, but is very aware of her sadness.

Then, an escaped convict enters their lives, makes them delicious food, fixes the house and becomes just what the family needs. There’s only one little problem: He’s on the lam and could be arrested at any moment.

First, just as a public service announcement, don’t take an escaped convict home with you in the hopes he will bake amazing pies and become the missing piece to your family. It generally is not a good idea and I’m pretty sure all law enforcement agencies would advise against it. 

The convict, Frank, played by Josh Brolin (“Gangster Squad”) treats the family with gentlemanly kindness and builds a relationship with Henry’s mother, Adele, played by Kate Winslet (“Contagion”).

But this is where the reality of the story falls apart. Apart from the fact it’s not likely an escaped convict that shows up at your house would be a such a gentlemen, audiences are expected to think this family is willing to give up all they have and risk imprisonment to try to leave the country with a man they met only five days ago.

The premise, while sweet, loses touch with reality.

While romance is going on between the two adults, Henry is becoming more aware of girls and deals with those emotions as he observes his mother’s new love interest.

Story aside, the acting is good. Winslet always shines and Brolin continues to provide good acting performances. He’s come a long way since “The Goonies.”

The supporting cast includes Clark Gregg (“Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”) and narration by an adult Henry, played by Tobey Maguire (“The Great Gatsby”).

“Labor Day” isn’t necessarily a bad movie, but it’s not the tear-jerking, hold-your-breath type of romance, either.

Becca Owsley can be reached at 270-505-1741 or bowsley@thenewsenterprise.com. For movie reviews, go to her
reporter page on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pages/Becca-Owsley/96924584861.

“Labor Day”

  • Rated PG-13 for thematic material, brief violence and sexuality
  • Release date: January 31
  • Runtime: 111 minutes
  • Rating: Lack of reality loses the story


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