'Labor Day' is engagingly sappy

( PG-13 ) ( Monitor Movie Guide )

'Labor Day' stars Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin.

Paramount Pictures
Kate Winslet (l.) and Josh Brolin (r.) star in 'Labor Day.'

Jason Reitman’s engagingly sappy “Labor Day” is being denigrated in some circles as a glorified Lifetime channel movie, but it would also not seem out of place on The Food Channel. Based on Joyce Maynard’s 2009 novel and set in leafy small-town New England in 1987, it’s about Frank Chambers (Josh Brolin), an escaped convict who takes refuge with Adele Wheeler (Kate Winslet), a single mother, and her teenage son, Henry (Gattlin Griffith).

Frank is no ordinary felon. First of all, he’s (kind of) innocent. He’s also tough-tender and caring and a real gentleman. Most of all, he’s a great cook. We see him whip up a first-class chili, but his specialty is peach pie, which we watch him prepare so lovingly that I was surprised Reitman didn’t include the recipe in the end credits. Grade: B- (Rated PG-13 for thematic material, brief violence, and sexuality.)

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