Pin It
Favorite

Tied Up 

Labor Day teaches us that you might just fall in love with a kidnapper

click to enlarge film1-1.jpg

Ladies! Single? Lonely? Starved for human touch? Why not get yourself kidnapped and held hostage by an escaped convict? Guaranteed relationship starter!

I couldn't believe this is where Labor Day goes. I'm dumbfounded it does so without the slightest sense of irony or even a hint of awareness that this could be problematic. Stockholm syndrome as actually, genuinely, for-reals romantic? Are they kidding us?

It's Labor Day weekend 1987, and single mom — and very likely clinically depressed woman — Adele (Kate Winslet) is shopping with her young teen son Henry (Gattlin Griffith) when they're approached by Frank (Josh Brolin). From the middle of a busy store, this large, shifty man, suspiciously bleeding from a wound in the gut, kidnaps Adele and Henry and forces them to take him to their home. He proceeds to tie them up, as you do when you're an escaped convict who needs a place to hide out.

Later, Frank makes breakfast, does some handyman jobs around the house, and generally engages in enacting a parody of husbandness. Later still, after some untying, Adele starts gazing at Frank in horrifyingly besotted ways, and — as desperately suggestible as she is — begins to call her son "Hank," as Frank has been doing.

I must stress once again that writer and director Jason Reitman, adapting a novel by Joyce Maynard, sincerely expects that we will find this all terribly romantic. In case there's any doubt that Reitman is being straight with us — he's better known for snark such as Young Adult and Thank You for Smoking (and some sort of contempt for the regressive attitudes on display here is desperately needed) — we're treated to a voice-over narration by adult Henry today (Tobey Maguire), who relates these events for us, slathering them all in a gooey nostalgia for that time when he and his mom were kidnapped by an escaped convict and his mother fell in love with the guy.

To reiterate, in case it's unclear: Stockholm syndrome as romantic? Totally fine. Mom, baseball, and apple pie? Don't be absurd.

Of course Winslet and Brolin are amazing: it's who they are. But that only makes Labor Day even more horrifyingly wrongheaded. This isn't cheesy, sensationalistic crap we're dealing with here. It's elegant awards bait: Winslet was nominated for a Golden Globe, for the love of human bondage. Which is totally fine if you want to make falling in love with your violent kidnapper look gorgeous and appealing.♦

Trailer


Labor Day
Rated PG-13 · 111 minutes · 2014
Director: Jason Reitman
Producer: Lianne Halfon, Russell Smith, Jason Reitman, Helen Estabrook, Steven Rales, Mark Roybal, Michael Beugg and Jeffrey Clifford
Cast: Kate Winslet, Josh Brolin, Gattlin Griffith, Tobey Maguire, Clark Gregg, Tom Lipinski, Maika Monroe, J.K. Simmons, James Van Der Beek, Brooke Smith, Dylan Minnette, Brighid Fleming, Alexie Gilmore, Lucas Hedges and Micah Fowler

Now Playing

Sorry there are no upcoming showtimes for Labor Day

Tags: , , ,

  • Pin It

Speaking of Film, Review

Latest in Film

  • Man and Wife
  • Man and Wife

    Simple, non-heroic love changes the world in Loving
    • Dec 1, 2016
  • Grumpy Old Man
  • Grumpy Old Man

    The Magic Lantern Theatre is open again and featuring the delightful A Man Called Ove
    • Dec 1, 2016
  • Big Themes
  • Big Themes

    Disney's Moana is the empowering and fascinating tale we need right now
    • Nov 23, 2016
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Thu | Fri | Sat | Sun | Mon | Tue
The Sweeplings Christmas Concert [Sold out]

The Sweeplings Christmas Concert [Sold out] @ Vessel Coffee Roasters

Fri., Dec. 9, 7:30 p.m.

All of today's events | Staff Picks

or

More by Maryann Johanson

  • Big Themes
  • Big Themes

    Disney's Moana is the empowering and fascinating tale we need right now
    • Nov 23, 2016
  • Weird Science
  • Weird Science

    Doctor Strange features a whole lot of CGI but lacks in story
    • Nov 3, 2016
  • From Book to Bore
  • From Book to Bore

    Inferno is a messy, nonsensical continuation of the Robert Langdon series
    • Oct 27, 2016
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Wanna Rock?

    A slew of '80s glam favorites come to Wreck The Halls of Spokane Arena
    • Dec 1, 2016
  • Big Themes

    Disney's Moana is the empowering and fascinating tale we need right now
    • Nov 23, 2016
  • More »

Top Tags in
Music & Film

Film


Review


Readers also liked…

  • Where Are the Women?
  • Where Are the Women?

    A critic's year-long deep dive into the way movies portray half of humanity
    • May 12, 2016
  • Desert Rage
  • Desert Rage

    Mad Max: Fury Road will restore your faith in action movies
    • May 13, 2015

© 2016 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation