The reactions to Jason Reitman’s “Labor Day” ever since it dropped at Telluride have been interesting, stretching from adulation and tears to outright seething hatred. It’s a very different film for the director, representing a mature departure from his prior work. “The edge that has defined Reitman’s work has been set aside while a more refined, lived-in aesthetic has taken hold,” I wrote out of the Colorado festival.
I know the film has been playing well for women, but it doesn’t seem to be catching on as a viable awards play for Paramount, which also has “Nebraska” and “The Wolf of Wall Street” to work with this season. The studio seems to think there is a shot for Josh Brolin in the supporting actor category and Reitman for adapted screenplay, but not having Kate Winslet on hand to promote the film and campaign hurts her chances in the lead actress field.
Nevertheless, the film is good. People will react based on their own baggage, as with anything, but my biggest takeaway remains the richness of the craft. Particularly Eric Steelberg’s digital photography, which is lush and evocative and really just quite something. The film comes out this Christmas and you’ll decide for yourself, but in the meantime, here’s the first trailer to give you a taste of what to expect.