Complete A-Z list

Labor Day


Stars: Kate Winslet, Josh Brolin, Gaitlin Griffith, Clark Gregg, Maika Monroe, James Van Der Beek, J K Simmons, Tobey Maguire

Director: Jason Reitman

A peculiar, noir-ish romantic drama. If you're addicted to old black-and-white movies on TV from the RKO era, you can just imagine ida Lupino and Robert Ryan in the roles played here by Winslet and Brolin, she a mentally dodgy New England widow, he an escaped convict doing time for killing his wife.

More or less taken hostage in a supermarket, Winslet and son find themselves shunted back to their home by the fugitive, who needs to rest his injured side. Night turns to day and Brolin, while keeping a tight rein on his hostages, proves to be a formidable cook and DIY man.

The sensual Winslet soon warms to him and, when he takes a basket of peaches, peels them, encases them in pastry, and talks about 'right on the verge of crumbling at any moment', you know he's not talking about the pie.

Winsley duly crumbles, and, to the boy's vague disquiet, the enamoured pair is soon making plans to flee to Canada.

Flashbacks throughout are, to say the least, somewhat confusing - at times it's tricky to tell whose backstory we're watching - while the last reel or so depends heavily on a series of coincidences: would a patrol cop, for example, really haul a 13-year-old off the pavement and insist on driving him home: surely he'd have better things to do?

And, despite a decent performance from Winslet, the soft ending places the film firmly in the land of rose-coloured romance.

David Quinlan

USA 2013. UK Distributor: Paramount. Colour (unspecified).
109 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 16 Mar 2014