Labor Day

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Labor Day

The year is 1987. Adele Wheeler (Kate Winslet) is a single mom living in a rural home with her 13-year-old son, Henry (Gattlin Griffith). Depressed ever since her husband left her (not because she misses him, we’re told, but because she “loves love”), she now rarely leaves the house; so it’s just bad luck that she’s shopping with Henry when a dodgy type with a bloodstained t-shirt comes up to them and tells them that their giving him a lift “needs to happen”.
The man – Frank Chambers (Josh Brolin) – is an escaped convict. He’s also kind, polite, insightful, a great home handyman, excellent in the kitchen, not really a bad guy despite being in prison for the murder of his wife, and pretty much exactly the man both Adele and Henry need in their lives.
We all know that Hollywood trades in wish fulfilment, but this is laying it on pretty thick, and the occasional moments where Frank actually does act like an escaped convict and not some kind of earthbound angel are nowhere near enough to balance out the way this shouts out loud and clear that you don’t have to do anything at all to find your perfect life partner – he’ll just force his way into your life and make everything all better.
There are occasional hints that maybe we’re seeing this from the point of view of Henry, whose ideas about love are just being formed (there’s plenty of inadvertent hilarity early on when Henry tries to take the place of his absent father – “husband for a week” coupons are not a great idea), but there’s just enough going on here without Henry’s input to quash that reading.
No, this is just a film about two special people who fall in the greatest love of all, even though one of them is a clingy housebound shut-in and the other an escaped convict with a murder conviction. Any creepiness in the story is waved away by the power of their love; if you’re not on that wavelength, presumably you’ll get a laugh from the endless and massively over-the-top sequence in which on-the-run Chambers cooks the world’s best peach pie.
Written by Anthony Morris