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« The Halfway Mark Pt 2. Actors & Actresses | Main | Four for the Fourth: America in the Movies »
Thursday
Jul042013

Will You Be Having "Labor Day" For Christmas?

Labor Day, the latest film from writer/director Jason Reitman is now scheduled to open on Christmas Day so I thought I'd post about it on Independence Day just to continue its holiday confusions!

You may remember that I had promised to read two books that y'all voted on in that "read this before the movie comes out" and this was your second choice pick (I'll read 12 Years a Slave next). I managed to get through thise runner up on flights during my recent Scandinavian trip. Joyce Manard's "Labor Day" was an easy read, actually as the novel is slim and the story is condensed to a very short time frame. I like both of its book covers though they're vague (love and peach pies do figure in but...) and its difficult to say what they're selling but the same is arguably true of the book, which I felt ambivalent about when I'd finished though it never really lost my interest in the reading.

It could make a smart tight movie about unloved middle aged people and the messy crossroads between romantic fulfillment and parenting, OR what it's like to grow up as the child of absent divorced parents but it also could make for an odd collision of coming-of-age clichés, faux thriller suspense, and romantic drama. If it's not tightly directed I could see some 'let's just watch some actors act' aimlessness happening given the novel's multiple identities. I'm loathe to give away details (though I'm 100% certain the trailer will...) but the set up is that an escaped ex convict Frank (Josh Brolin) suddenly enters the lives of a shut-in mother Adele (Kate Winslet) and her lonely teenage son Henry (played by 14 year old Gattlin Griffith from Changeling and then by 16 year old Dylan Minette who has had a few regular series gigs on TV... though it seems strange to have actors so close in age playing the same character at different ages) on a rare trip out shopping, further isolating them from the world. That's all I'm saying. 

 

I'm intrigued to see Josh Brolin and Kate Winslet work together -- seems like smart casting director match-making.

Winslet's character is a complicated one so if the movie is strong a Best Actress nomination isn't out of the question. Adele is eccentric, stubborn, moody, shut-down, delusional but also sexually vivid. She's described repeatedly in the novel as beautiful with a lithe dancers physique that's still a head turner even though she doesn't take care of herself and put herself out there visually (she seems to have no interest in dating). But based on the set photos of the costuming and styling maybe they've erred on the side of "she's a housewife that's given up!" Winslet might have to provide all the eroticism on her own. 

Dylan MinnetteBrolin is a smidge beefier than his character as described (Frank is a wiry almost gaunt ex-con) though it does look like he lost some weight for the role. But I think it's great casting emotionally since he is fairly adept at shading good guys and bad guys alike with questionable impulses and more complex character that you're able to read at first glance. 

Is this a movie you're looking forward to?
If you've read the novel what did you think of it? Do you remember Gattlin Griffith in Changeling (little Walter Collins) and if you've seen Dylan Minette on Lost or Saving Grace tell us what you think of his big screen potential?

Related Reading: 14 Books to Read Before They Hit the Big Screen (BuzzFeed) 25 Beach Reads for Summer 2013 (Vulture)

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Reader Comments (10)

"Labor Day, the latest film from writer/director Jason Reitman is now scheduled to open on Christmas Day so I thought I'd post about it on Independence Day"

That's the most confused phrase since Victor/Victoria's "I'm a woman pretending to be a man pretending to be a woman". And that's a compliment, LOL

It's a definite yes for me, but I doubt this movie will be shown in my country, unless it gets award buzz and nominated for some awards. Drama only gets to shown here if they can put the icon of that little golden man on the poster.

By the way, does the casting of Tobey Maguire as the adult Henry mean it's a flashback of adult Henry with Tobey's voice-over throughout the movie? If yes, then Tobey got two voice-over jobs this year (the other being The Great Gatsby). It's great, because I used to love him so mucn in Pleasantville and thought he did a great work in The Great Gatsby. That's the Tobey I love, not the spiderman-type.

July 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPJ

I remember Dylan Minette from Awake, where he hold up quite nice opposite the fantastic Jason Isaacs. I'm intrigued how he will do on the big screen.

July 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterIvonne

I primarily remember that Minnette looked exactly like his two actor/parents on Lost, and his performance was strong, but nothing to write home about quite yet. The casting director deserved a gold star though.

July 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJohn T

Joyce Maynard wrote the book " TO DIE FOR" which later was adapted to the screen for Nicole Kidman and Matt Dillon.

I love her writing.

July 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDavid

Awake has one of the best Pilot episodes for a TV show ever (def go watch it if you can find it online). Jason Isaacs was absolutely outstanding and deserved every award that year. The rest of the cast (including Dylan) was pretty good too, especially in one of the eps.

July 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAnonny

Dylan is playing the prt of Henry at 16.
The main part of the movie takes place when Hery was 12 .
Gattlin Griffith is playing the part of Henry at 12.

July 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDR

Kate Winslet, Cate Blanchett, Judi Dench, (MERYL I HATE YOU SO VERY MUCH STREEP) and somebody else?

July 5, 2013 | Unregistered Commenter3rtful

Reitman never does a straight adaptation of novels so I would expect no less for him to change the novel.

July 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEoin Daly

DR -- thanks for the clarification. I have adjusted the article.

July 5, 2013 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Joyce Maynard is not a very good writer, tending to be mushy and sentimental.
I would expect the movie to be the same

August 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterWinnie

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