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.
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.
Brolin 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?