Depressed single mum Adele and her son Henry are coerced to offer a wounded, fearsome man a ride. As police search town for the escaped convict, the mother and son gradually learn his true story as their options become increasingly limited.
Labor Day, starring Kate Winslett and Josh Brolin is a slow paced drama where the threat of a violent escaped criminal demanding a lift gradually recedes to be replaced by a man who takes an interest in Adele and her son Henry (Gattlin Griffith). The story is told from Henry’s point of view but as he is a boy on the cusp of adolescence his narrative is at times unreliable. That the recall is being romanticized is made obvious visually by the sunlight fading the screen to white during the baseball lesson. Sexuality is replaced by making pastry and filling for peach cobbler and getting squishy with sugary juices. Frank ties up Adele – just in case she needs to look as if she didn’t harbour an escaped criminal – and he feeds her chilli he has made from ingredients she had around the house anyway. He proceeds to feed her in a nurturing way she hasn’t had for years. When he then begins to fix up various signs of neglect in her home, it is easy to see why both Adele and Henry begin to feel an affection for him that isn’t entirely appropriate. Gradually through the use of flashbacks we see what led Adele and Frank to this point and his criminal past is something that can’t go away no matter how much either of them might wish it.
The ending isn’t quite the ending however as we get the adult Henry’s round up of what happened through the years but the Labor Day weekend is what shapes all of their futures.
$18m to make and earning $19m at the box office. It is slow but well acted and you may well wipe away a tear at one point.