The Telluride Film Festival‘s first big official movie was the Thursday afternoon patron’s screening of Jason Reitman‘s Labor Day. Reitman has previously debuted his films Juno and Up In The Air at Telluride and gives this latest a contemporary spin with a completely faithful adaptation of Joyce Maynard’s novel. (She is here, too). It’s about an escaped con (Josh Brolin) who invades the life of a single mom (Kate Winslet) and her 14-year-old son (Gattlin Griffith). Not only is it a complete departure for Reitman but he delivers with style and fine performances from his leads. Paramount plans to open it limited in late December and then go wide in January. But it was a no-brainer to bring a movie called Labor Day to this Labor Day gathering of cinephiles. As Reitman said to laughter, “I know this is going to be a very tricky transition for you. You are going to have to somehow step out of this beautiful town on Labor Day weekend and walk into this beautiful town on Labor Day weekend.” He thanked Paramount and Indian Paintbrush for supporting him as a filmmaker. “This is probably the truest adaptation I will ever write. I wanted to make the movie that reflected my experience of reading the book Labor Day for the first time. It’s a movie about inexplicable decisions and the unusual — sometimes rare — trust it takes to heal. It’s a love story.” I’d say it’s a romantic drama that harkens back to the great tradition of Hollywood tearjerkers and reminded me of a combination of The Bridges Of Madison County, Shane, and a 1940s-style melodrama that might have starred Robert Mitchum and Jennifer Jones.
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