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'Labor Day' falls too squarely into the chick flick hole

Labor Day movie poster
Paramount Pictures

Labor Day


One of the more unfortunate tags that have been dreamt up to describe a movie is Chick Flick. When the term first started to be used is unknown, but the term is generally attached to a romantic drama that is felt that it will largely appeal to women, while a man will only go to one in hopes that the movie will put his woman “In the mood” later. Chances are whoever coined the phrase Chick Flick was a man. The new Jason Reitman movie that opens today, January 31, “Labor Day” starring Josh Brolin and Kate Winslet will probably be labeled as a “Chick Flick” by many, but that does not mean it is a badly made movie.

Frank Chambers (Brolin) has just escape from jail. While on the run he encounters young Henry Wheeler (Gattlin Griffith) and his mother, Adele (Winslet) in a grocery store where he forces them to take him home with them. Frank immediately starts to help around the house and before you know it, Adele has fallen in love with him and Henry sees Frank as a positive father figure. If Frank was not on the run from the police for murder, this story may have a happy ending. Maybe it still can.

There is no doubting the star power Josh Brolin and Kate Winslet possess. Winslet in particular in this movie is phenomenal. She can convey so much from just the look she has on her face or the way she grabs onto a shopping cart. The woman is one of the best actresses around today. Jason Reitman is a very talented filmmaker and he still is; however, with “Labor Day” some may say he was working with weaker material.

Two people meeting and falling in love quickly is nothing new in the movies. We see those movies and accept them almost every time we see that happen in a movie. In “Labor Day” it may have you rolling your eyes about the scenario. The movie takes place over Labor Day weekend, but the two leads fall in love with one another rather fast given the circumstance. For a man who is supposed to be lying low, he has no problems going outside to do work on the house and teach Henry how to place baseball. These are things that just make you go “REALLY?!” There is great chemistry between Brolin and Winslet, but no matter how hard Reitman tries to get us to buy into this story, you just can’t make that leap. It is rated PG-13 for thematic material, brief violence and sexuality.