Saturday, April 19, 2014

Labor Day

Director: Jason Reitman
With: Kate Winslet, Josh Brolin, Gattlin Griffith, Tobey Maguire

I've mentioned in my Top film rankings for 2013 how I'm fond of sugars in films. I expected to like Labor Day because of that, but it didn't have the sugar that I was looking for, more like flour. Literally.

Labor Day is a drama about a mother and son who met a fugitive and asked them to hide him into their home. Throughout this long Labor Day weekend, the mother (played by Kate Winslet) falls in love with the fugitive (Josh Brolin) and as days progressed reveals their lives in their previous relationships.

It's actually more of like a melodrama because Kate Winslet's character is super lonely and sad, but it's a story that I couldn't even call melodramatic because there's nothing 'melo' about its drama. It's insufficient of all of its aspect, including the storyarcs.

But that's probably because Reitman remained loyal to the book. Watching the film, even though I didn't read the book, Jason Reitman's screenplay felt very faithful to it. Don't get me wrong, I have no idea about the book. Zero. LOL. But what I saw in Labor Day looked like an imagination straight from reading the book. I give Reitman that. But I'm kind of nonplussed of why Reitman chose to adapt this book. It's very different from his past works, Up in the Air, Young Adult and Juno. I guess he's trying to explore his talent. Unfortunately, I think he needs to stick with directing more modern and comedic films. But who am I to say that, right?

It has at least a graceful cinematography which captures the humidity of its setting. That's one thing I like about Reitman's direction, you'd always expect to see artistic shots and he'll most likely deliver. I still remember the birds eye view shots of fields in Up in the Air. He delivers in Labor Day. Those moving shots in the beginning, the peach crust that looks so yummy, the green pastures in their area, the simplicity of the town, the everything.

I am not crazy about Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin's performances but both are good, quite effective in portraying their roles. Their roles which I find dull. Yes, Labor Day is quite dull. It's not boring per se, but geez, the characters need some happy pills. Movies with dull characters don't always translate to being bland but this one is just that, pedestrian.

It's such a shame because I consider myself a huge fan of Up in the Air and Young Adult and those two are two consecutive great films by Reitman, but following those two with this, it seems like Reitman is still finding his niche after all and everyone who watched the film will probably agree that he needs to leave the dramatic love story genre asap. It's not for him. Although kudos for trying.