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Film Review: Labor Day

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The Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin-starring Labor Day is in cinemas from Friday March 21. Harry Guerin finds out whether it measures up to the book.

Josh Brolin has one of those great film faces that allows him to be equally convincing as hero or villain - in Labor Day he's given the opportunity to play both.

Henry (Gattlin Griffith) is an only (and lonely) child who lives with his mother Adele (Winslet), a fragile soul who has retreated from life since the break-up of her marriage. But on this fateful bank holiday weekend, Adele makes a rare foray into the outside world to bring Henry to the supermarket to buy some clothes for the upcoming school term.

Pulling into the parking lot, their lives are about to change forever - inside is Frank (Brolin), an escaped prisoner who needs somewhere to lie low for a couple of hours.

Like the Joyce Maynard novel on which it is based, Labor Day isn't a movie for cynics, but if you're willing to buy into it and leave the real world in the foyer there is much to enjoy: three excellent central performances; a bang-on and bittersweet adaptation by Juno and Up in the Air director Jason Reitman of what it's like to straddle two worlds as a youngster and a beautifully shot evocation of those long lost and lazy summers that you never thought would end. There's also perhaps the greatest peach pie-making scene in American film history, guaranteed to make audiences feel hungry or hot under the collar. Or both.

Sadly, Reitman takes his creation out of the 'oven' a little too quickly here, with the ending working far better on the page than the screen. Even with that disappointment, this will become movie comfort food for many.

Harry Guerin

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