Sunday, August 31, 2014

Labor Day Chick Flick

Movie Title:    Labor Day

PG-13, 1 hour 50 minutes

Grade:  C+

In a Nutshell:  First off, I was surprised that acclaimed director Jason Reitman didn’t release this film during Labor Day   Instead, it quietly opened at the end of January 2014, receiving mixed reviews from critics.  It’s an unlikely romance that digs deep into the kinds of heartaches that last a lifetime.  Whenever Tobey Maguire narrates a movie, you feel like you’re going to hear profound lessons about life’s journey.  While sappy and belabored at times, this film invites you to experience such a journey.

Based on a book by Joyce Maynard, it feels like a The Bridges of Madison County wounded romance you would read at the end of summer.

Uplifting theme:   

  • Family is what brings us the greatest joys and sorrows in life.
  • It’s surprising how the smallest moments between people can impact our lives.
Things I liked:

  • Kate Winslet, Josh Brolin and Gattlin Griffith were all terrific, especially considering the material they were given to work with.
  • There is a unique loss and pain that comes after a miscarriage.  I’ve had several, so I could really relate to Adele’s sorrow.  A woman never forgets the baby she could have raised.  While Adele allowed herself to withdraw from the world, her reaction is not unusual for a lot of women who have experienced her sequence of trials.  Thankfully, there is more help out there nowadays for women who go through similar circumstances.  One of the books that helped heal my soul almost more than anything else was this one:
Things I didn’t like:

  • Some of the scenes were ridiculously implausible and I found myself talking to the screen, saying things like “Oh, come on!”
  • Most men won’t be able to tolerate this sugary chick-flick. 
Interesting lines:

  • “A man should know how to dance.  When a man can dance, the world is his oyster.”  - Adele
  • “I could feel her longing and loneliness before I had a name for it.”  - Henry Wheeler
  • “The mom asks her son if his father explained sex to him.  She points out that in school they usually talk about the bodily functions of the act, but they don’t talk about the way it feels.  She said “There’s another kind of hunger.  A hunger for human touch.  A desire.  People never tell you how it feels.”  - Adele
  • “There were two people who couldn’t go out into the world, so they made a world with each other.”  - Adult Henry Wheeler
Dumb lines:

*  Frankly, this needs to happen.  - Frank

Tips for parents:   While the theme is about families, this isn’t really a movie appropriate for young children.  There are a lot of sexual innuendos, but very little bad language.  If you want your kids to see it during the Labor Day weekend, use it as a kick-start to talk about "stranger danger" and how to avoid potentially dangerous situations. 
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