Hard ‘Labor’ for Winslet

February has blossomed and Valentine’s Day is on the horizon. Valentine’s Day translates to one thing for the movie industry ¾ a surplus of romantic films.

“Labor Day, ” set in the 1980s, follows a trio of characters spending a weekend together. Adele (Kate Winslet) is a depressed, divorced, middle-aged mother living with her preadolescent son Henry, who tries to fill the void of his father’s absence and his mother’s disinvolvement. Frank (Josh Brolin) is an escaped convict who throws himself into their lives.

The plot follows the relationship that Adele and Henry develop with the fugitive. Tensions increase as the relationship is reduced to a hostage situation. Frank offers to fill the void missing in Adele’s and Henry’s lives, against the backdrop of a manhunt for Frank.

The film runs on the themes of family, maternity, and coming of age. “Labor Day” also plays with the audience’s fetish for a savior during a depressing time in one’s life. The characters are likeable and the actors portraying them do a good job.

However, despite the fact that the film offers a premise that has more potential than the run of the mill romantic film, it falls short.

“Labor Day” suffers from its characters remaining undeveloped and flat. The film only goes deep enough to demonstrate its characters’ tendencies where they somehow service the plot and provoke the audience. Much like everything else in the film, the characters are largely vague and ambiguous. By the end, the film’s poor excuse for a character arc leaves much to be desired.

The plot is so unbelievable  that it takes away from the film as a whole. There is a poorly crossed chasm between bleeding stranger asking for help and fugitive occupying one’s home, from which the film never recovers. I could almost hear the final nails of this film’s coffin being hammered in as the cheesy ending flew by.

I only wished the film were about the backstory of these characters, as that would have made for a much more compelling story.

I will be honest; it is not fair for me to review this film. I’m not part of its target audience. ”Labor Day” is more targeted to older females than to the average college students. Yet this is not to say that this film has no use for college students. On Valentine’s Day, men are dragged by their female companions to see romantic films like cattle to the slaughterhouse. “Labor Day” is most definitely more bearable than your typical romantic film. If you wish for Valentine’s Day to cause less suffering, see “Labor Day” instead of the run of the mill romantic film.

 

ONLY RECOMMENDED IF: You are forced to choose between Labor Day and a run of the mill romantic film.