So far Jason Reitman’s only failure has been Young Adult. His new movie version of Labor Day (2014), the Joyce Maynard novel (reviewed on this site), is a winner.
I’ve written that the novel is “endlessly compelling on the subject of isolation.” That is not quite the case with the film, but no matter. It is gripping and touching when concentrating on a woman’s two miscarriages and one stillbirth (those of Kate Winslet’s Adele). Maynard’s plot is faithfully rendered and the film has plenty of heart. The acting is usually satisfying, although young Gattlin Griffith, as the boy Henry, invariably wears the same facial expression. Josh Brolin’s performance as the convict is mainly lived-in but slightly dull. Better are Brooke Smith (Evelyn), who has verve, and young Brighid Fleming (Eleanor), who is coolly true as a girl contentedly aware of her slowly growing sophistication. As for Winslet, she is movingly delicate, savvily good.
Labor Day was made in a felt, subdued manner, and its titles sequence is a wonder of editing. You won’t have a problem with Eric Steelberg’s cinematography either.