Based on a novel by Joyce Maynard, Labor Day is set in a small New Hampshire town and centers on 13-year-old Henry Wheeler (Gattlin Griffith), who struggles to be the man of his house and care for his reclusive and emotionally fragile single mother Adele (Kate Winslet) who was left by her husband (Clark Gregg). On a back-to-school shopping trip, Henry and his mother encounter Frank Chambers (Josh Brolin), a man both intimidating and clearly in need of help, who convinces them to take him into their home and later is revealed to be an escaped convict (Frank’s life is told through a series of flashbacks). The events of this long hot Labor Day weekend will shape them for the rest of their lives.
The chemistry between Winslet and Brolin is both perfect and emotional. Their interaction with each other is full of compassion and desire. Brolin’s character also shows are real sensitivity and politeness towards the needs of Henry. The story is narrated by Tobey Maguire, who also has a cameo as the adult Henry. The director, Jason Reitman, gives the film enough edge and does not overdo the romance that could have easily made this into a Lifetime movie.
PG-13 for thematic material, brief violence and sexuality
Run Time: 1 hr. 51 min.