If you read my last post, you’ll know that I was off to far-West London on the District Line, having deposited the children, tired and full of sugar, on Nathan at London Bridge. The freedom was exhilarating. For a while anyway, until the tedium of the District Line began to set in. It’s a long and confusing line, which makes the most hardened of tube geeks (me) sob a little. So, it was more by luck than journey planning that I arrived in Gunnersbury, at the headquarters of Paramount Pictures.
Why was I there? Am I finally signing that 12-picture contract that’s been coming my way ever since my groundbreaking performance as Mary in St Barnabas’ Nativity Play 1984? (My future husband was a lowly shepherd…and we think he was an ally of his future brother-in-law in the king/shepherd rumble) No, that sadly wasn’t it. I was there to review “Labor Day”, a new film starring Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin. And eat some mini burgers and chocolate brownie squares while I was there. I also took in the scenic grounds of the Paramount offices, featuring a lake with swans. Surreal.
So, my verdict on the film. I’d like to say I enjoyed it, and I did but it was a strange kind of enjoyment that you get with the most tense kind of dramas (I had to get a neck rub after “Captain Philips”, I was so stressed). It never quite lets you relax – the masterly direction soothes you into a sense of homely calm, before jolting you out of it again. Kate Winslet is Adele, a nervy recluse, who inadvertently shelters a felon on the run (Josh Brolin)…and unexpected romance blossoms. It’s narrated by, and seen from the perspective of, her son Henry – you never get to see things from Adele’s point of view, though a handy piece of exposition helps explain why she the way she is. It’s a film about family, about love and – to an extent – about injustice, as the full story of Frank’s crime comes to light (although we never see him explain it to Adele, suggesting she just chooses to accept him as he is and ignore the reason he’s in prison – love is blind, after all). It’s from the director of “Juno” and there are similar touches in the lo-fi style of direction, but the writing is completely different and that makes it a very different film. If anything, it’s more like Kate Winslet’s previous work “Revolutionary Road” – and if a crucial scene in that film had you sobbing hormonal tears, then this may have a similar effect.
I’ve written a fuller review at tvandfilmreview.com, so have a look there…but it is definitely worth checking out. Just don’t expect a comfortable ride.