Typically, it’s not considered savvy to open a movie on Super Bowl weekend, what with more than 100 million spending their Sunday afternoon on their sofa, eating nachos, guac, and buffalo wings in front of the Big Game. But Jason Reitman’s Labor Day might qualify as counter-programming. Based on Joyce Maynard’s 2009 novel, the film tells the melodramatic story of a fragile divorcee (Kate Winslet) whose rare excursion out of her house and into town with her 13-year-old son (Gattlin Griffith) is hijacked by an escaped fugitive (Josh Brolin) who demands refuge. But while he looks threatening, he’s a mild soul, and before long, he’s just what the boy and his mother are looking for: a father-figure and a man of the house.
“Once back at the house, Frank ties up Adele, pausing to tenderly caress her foot before spoon-feeding her some chili that he’s whipped up in the kitchen,” writes EW’s Chris Nashawaty. “At this point, even the most voracious reader of Harlequin romances might let out an embarrassed titter. But that’s just a warm-up for what comes next: the peach pie. Ay-yi-yi, the peach pie.”
The peach-pie scene aims to do for pastry what Ghost did for clay, and viewers will either swoon or eye-roll. The earnest romance is a departure for Reitman, the director best known for Juno and Up in the Air, but with another powerful female performance and supporting cast (Tobey Maguire, J.K. Simmons, Clark Gregg, James Van Der Beek), Super Bowl Sunday doesn’t have to be all about football.
Before you head to the theater, read what some of the nation’s leading critics are saying about Labor Day. READ FULL STORY