Jeff's Reviews

Thoughts on every movie I've ever seen.

Labor Day (2013)

Directed by Jason Reitman

Starring Kate Winslet, Josh Brolin, Gattlin Griffith, Tobey Maguire

Author

The emotional story, gentle pacing, slow beauty, and Gattlin Griffith’s soulful eyes give the movie a wonderful, melancholic feel. And good tension in many scenes, though a bit forced at times, keeps things interesting.

Brolin has a great presence. I love how in his career, he has vacillated between playing good and bad characters. I’ve heard that guys who are really nice-looking play good guys, and guys who are nice-looking but in an unconventional way play bad guys. Brolin is somewhere in between, isn’t he? And that helps with the ambivalent morals that are so essential to this particular role.

Winslet is good. Lipinski is a great choice for a young Brolin. Van Der Beek’s got a small but great role as a cop. But it takes just a moment for Brighid Fleming’s awful delivery of rigidly scripted lines to ruin everything. I feel bad coming down so hard on such a young actress, perhaps it’s the director I should be more critical of. Reitman should have known that something wasn’t working here.

A few shots linger a bit long. The key to editing is knowing when the point has been made and you can move on to the next shot.

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