Writer-director Jason Reitman continues his tradition of debuting his films at the Telluride Film Festival with the screening Thursday of his latest, the drama “Labor Day,” starring Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin.
Based on the novel by Joyce Maynard, “Labor Day” tracks the tale of single mom Adele (Winslet) and her son Henry, who unwittingly take in an escaped convict (Brolin) as the police scour the town for him.
The film nabbed the coveted first feature slot, screening this afternoon in the Colorado mountain town. Last year’s best picture Oscar winner “Argo” also debuted in this spot.
Early reviews suggest “Labor Day,” which is not scheduled to open wide in theaters until January 2014 -- nowhere close to the Labor Day holiday -- to be a more mature effort from Reitman, best known for the 2009 Oscar-nominated film “Up in the Air” and 2007’s “Juno."
Kristopher Tapley from the website In Contention compares the film, which he says “sits with its characters, measured, patient with them,” to Clint Eastwood’s early ‘90s films like “Bridges of Madison County” and “A Perfect World.”
Indiewire’s Anne Thompson tweets her initial reaction to the film, an endorsement that bodes well for both its commercial prospects and its Oscar chances: “Labor Day is that rare thing these days, a well wrought drama, a love story and a tear jerker. Sniffles in the house. Winslet in Oscar race.”
Hitfix’s Gregory Ellwood wasn’t nearly as euphoric: “Interesting departure. Requires major suspension of disbelief.”
Reitman’s early publicity efforts for the film are just beginning. The Canadian director will have a homecoming of sorts when he takes his fifth feature to the Toronto International Film Festival next week.