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Labor Day Review Critics


Dave White Profile

Pie me up, pie me down. Read full review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 3.0

    out of 100

    Mixed or average reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 30

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern

    Labor Day, adapted from a novel by Joyce Maynard, is the kind of movie that turns clarity into stultification; everything is perfectly clear and almost everything — pie-making excepted — is perfectly lifeless.

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  • 38

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    Labor Day feels like a belabored, sappy slog.

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  • 50

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Chris Nashawaty

    With his latest film, the mawkish and melodramatic Labor Day, Reitman has done an unexpected about-face: He's ditched Wilder for Douglas Sirk. And the swap doesn't do him — or his fans — any favors.

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  • 50

    out of 100

    Chicago Tribune Michael Phillips

    Kate Winslet has such sound and reliable dramatic instincts (That Face doesn't hurt, either) she very nearly makes something of Adele.

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  • 60

    out of 100

    The New Yorker Anthony Lane

    You can love the look of the movie and still not believe a single word of it. To be fair, the climax is surprisingly touching; somehow, the residents of this cooked-up tale manage to earn our pity and support.

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  • 70

    out of 100

    Los Angeles Times Betsy Sharkey

    The film finds its footing as the weekend progresses and the temperature and tension — outside and in — rise.

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  • 70

    out of 100

    Variety Peter Debruge

    To the extent that Adele’s hunger for affection resonates with audiences, what emerges is a powerful — if implausible — romance.

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  • 88

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Richard Roeper

    Labor Day is an admittedly strange hybrid. Rarely have I seen such outrageous plot points executed with such lovely grace.

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  • 90

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Todd McCarthy

    Reitman keeps a strong grip on all the aspects of the story to prevent it from becoming corny, unduly melodramatic or obvious.

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  • See all Labor Day reviews at

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Pause for kids 13 & under

Uneven melodrama with confusing messages about love.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Labor Day is a romantic drama centering on an escaped convict and a lonely single mother with more discussion of sex than actual scenes of it (although there are brief flashbacks to a young couple making love, while mostly clothed, and some late-night sex noises a teenager overhears). There's a hint of violence when a man gruffly grabs a teenager or a woman, but the more disturbing scenes involve flashbacks to accidental deaths and a string of sad miscarriages. There are some uplifting messages about how people can fall in love and affect one another in just a few days, but there's also confusing messages about harboring a fugitive because he could be the love of your life.

  • 1. Families can talk about the movie's message about love and sex. How does longing for love affect the characters? What are the implications of showing a woman finding her soulmate while harboring an escaped criminal?
  • 2. The movie asserts that lives can be forever changed in just a few days. Do you agree with this? Is the epilogue believable?
  • 3. What are some other romantic dramas in which the couple falls in love almost immediately? How do those love stories compare to Labor Day?

The good stuff
  • message true1

    Messages: Although the movie takes a strangely positive stance on harboring a fugitive, it does encourage people to see past the obvious and figure out for themselves if someone is guilty or not. Adele's story challenges viewers to recognize how love is sometimes found in the unlikeliest of circumstances and how longing for love can make you lonely and isolated. Henry's tale shows the power of parent-child relationships. Frank teaches Adele and Henry about the simple pleasures of good company and good food and being a whole family.

  • rolemodels true1

    Role models: Henry is a remarkably mature and loving son. He does his best to make his single mother feel loved and cared for, by making her food, dancing with her, and generally acting like a companion not just a son. Despite her depression, Adele is a caring, protective mother who loves her son. Henry's father apologizes to him for not being more involved or able to help Adele through her sadness. Frank is a convicted murderer, but he's also kind and selfless and ultimately makes a difficult choice rather than cause Adele and Henry any pain.

What to watch for
  • violence false2

    Violence: An escaped convict, bleeding through a shirt, roughly grabs a 13-year-old boy by the neck and arms and forces his mom to help him. The ex-con grabs a woman and her son several times but never causes any harm. In flashbacks, we see how two accidental deaths occurred. There's a disturbing sequence when a woman recalls several miscarriages and a still birth (you see her crying, screaming, and crouching with blood streaming down her legs, and you also see her holding her stillborn baby). A mother slaps her wheelchair bound son across the face.

  • sex false2

    Sex: There are a couple of flashbacks to a young man kissing and having sex (mostly clothed) with his girlfriend. A boy hears his mother and a man making love, and there's an uncomfortable undertone of jealousy. A middle-school-aged girl talks to another tween about sex and how it makes adults crazy, is addictive like a drug, and causes people (including divorced parents) to do risky, dangerous things or to get rid of their kids. A tween also mentions incest.

  • language false0

    Language: Not applicable

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Scenes in a supermarket and kitchen include shots of the following brands: Ford station wagon, Coca Cola, Tab, Quik, Promise margarine, Yuban coffee, GE lightbulbs, Glamour, Mademoiselle, KoolAid, Hi-C,

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false0

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Adults drink in a bar in one flashback scene.