* * * ½
(Sentimental love story)
“Labor Day” comes just in time for a Valentine’s Day date night.
Kate Winslet stars as Adele, a divorced mom with a 13-year-old son (Gattlin Griffith) who ends up with an uninvited houseguest for the Labor Day weekend.
Frank (Josh Brolin) is a convicted murderer who has escaped from prison and “kidnaps” Adele and Henry. “Kidnaps” is a rather strong word for hiding out in their house and in three short days winning their affection, trust and admiration.
The nearly two-hour movie moves at a slow but steady pace as the three people connect with each other. They all have problems, which are shown in spotty flashbacks that are sometimes confusing.
Adele has hardly ever left the house since her husband ran away with his secretary. The reason for Frank’s murder conviction is also revealed, disrupting the mood created by Frank’s sudden presence in the life of the mother and son.
Adele is a psychological wreck, and Frank’s soothing and gentle manner puts her at ease. Poor Henry, who is suddenly discovering his sexual being, is set back a bit by advice given him by a more “worldly” teenage girl.
Along with sexual tension, there are some close encounters with police, neighbors and a nosy friend who drops her disabled son off for the day.
Will Frank be caught?
Will they be able to escape and start a new life?
The tension mounts as their plans are in danger of falling apart, leading to a most poignant conclusion.
Tobey Maguire narrates the story and shows up at the end as an adult Henry.
Rated PG-13. We would recommend it for mature teens.