Thom Geier
July 29, 2009 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Labor Day

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
PG-13
runtime
110 minutes
Wide Release Date
01/31/14
performer
Josh Brolin, Clark Gregg, Kate Winslet
director
Jason Reitman
distributor
Paramount Pictures
genre
Drama

We gave it a B

As romantic fantasies go, the premise of Joyce Maynard’s new novel, Labor Day is a doozy: It’s the Thursday before Labor Day in 1987, and 13-year-old Henry has lured his reclusive single mom out of the house for a trip to Pricemart. There they meet a guy named Frank who cajoles them into giving him a ride. He turns out to be an all-around fix-it guy, adept at baking pies and teaching baseball. He’s also an escapee from a nearby prison, the subject of a big manhunt, and just what Henry’s mom needs after years of postdivorce isolation. Labor Day works — despite its implausible Lifetime plot — by smartly focusing on the blinkered and somewhat naive perspective of Henry. B

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