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24th Mar 2014

REVIEW – Labor Day, Definitely One For The Romantics Among Us

Some pretty amazing performances here from Winslet and Brolin...

Sue Murphy

It’s always incredibly difficult to bring a book to the big screen, even more difficult to bring a much-loved book to the big screen like Labor Day. Romantic novels always bring with them a certain form of attachment partially due to the requirement of using your imagination to create an image for what you think that character may look like in person, partially due to the fact that you wish this entire tale was true.

More often than not however, the adaptation for cinema can leave fans of the books a little disappointed. Not only may the story have to change slightly for the script or story requirements, but those characters who you became incredibly attached to may not be the person that you imagined while reading the book. Just take the massive furore around the entire Fifty Shades of Grey filming for example.

Thankfully, Labor Day has managed to pick lead actors for the film that you pretty much imagined from the book.


Revolving around one particularly hot Labor Day weekend, the film tells the story mostly from the perspective of the young boy, Henry, who lives alone with his mother, Adele, after his father has moved on and married his secretary. Adele barely ever leaves the house, spending most of her time with her son who she constantly imparts knowledge upon. Henry himself is a bit of a loner and so between the pair of them, they live an isolated existence in a quiet suburb.

This all changes when they meet Frank while out shopping one day. Nervous and jittery, Frank insists they drive him back to their house in order that he may lay low for a few hours. Soon after, offers an explanation for his behaviour, informing Adele and Henry that he is on the run from the cops. However, instead of turning him in, Adele and Frank seem to share a connection that will define the rest of both her and Henry’s lives.

Firstly, the performances from the lead cast in the film are amazing. Winslet is exactly how you would expect Adele to be from the book, vulnerable, isolated, frightened and lonely, we feel the huge disconnect from her life and those that go on around her. Her depiction of Adele is heartbreaking. Brolin is also outstanding, creating enough empathy for a character that you could easily be quite suspicious of. Their connection is the glue that holds the entire project together.

Although the film can be more than a little sentimental at times, besides the performances, the true romantics will certainly love this one. You would be forgiven for being a little skeptical about a woman falling in love with a convicted prisoner, but Adele and Frank are both so far away from the outside world, it becomes entirely believable.

On top of that, the resolution to the piece doesn’t exactly play out like the book and leaves the viewer with a sense of unknowing. However, for the romantics among us, this will be right up their street.