The movie, in an extremely rare case, was actually better than the book. Last issue, I reviewed Labor Day by Joyce Maynard and this weekend I went to see the movie adaption of the book. The movie was better for a multitude of reasons.
First, the cinematography was amazing. There was plenty of beautifully captured imagery of the summer with sunlight through the trees, the making of pies, and the plain environment of the simple life. Henry and his mother’s home is shown in a beautiful, yet subtle, way. Where the book was slow-paced, the visuals accompanying the movie helped to keep a viewer’s attention.
Second, the movie was more succinct. The best literary parts from the book (only the gem quotes from the writing and my favorite parts, too) were carried into the film. The plot was also brought together in a much more sensible fashion. Instead of revealing the “big secret” of the story in one section, like in the book, the movie displayed pieces at a time to add an element of suspense, which was handled very well thanks to the magnificent acting.
Third, it was just plain easier to withstand. The book was a struggle to get through but the movie, as long as you’re not in the mood for much action, keeps attention and is more straightforward than the book was. Though it left out some important details of the book, like the part about Frank’s grandmother, the essential gist is still displayed well enough to understand the plot.
The movie stars Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin, plus an appearance of Tobey Maguire as grown-up Henry, who roleplays a nostalgic narrator.
The movie made me cry, something the book did not manage to accomplish. It took a complicated story and brought it together in a simple, reasonable way. I enjoyed it a lot, a tale true to the meaning of love and motherhood. Labor Day is still in theaters now, so if you have a chance and want a relaxing Sunday-afternoon entertainment, check it out.