Once upon a time, Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze told a love story with nothing more than their hands and a lump of clay. This weekend Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin are about to attempt to do with peach pie for their new film, Labor Day, what the vase-making scene did for Ghost -- make it the go-to movie for romance seekers everywhere. No, there's no coincidence that Paramount is bringing this film to theaters two weeks before Valentine's Day.
They want to book up your date night. Now!
Based on Joyce Maynard's novel of the same name, the story of a mother, her son, and an escaped murderer who is camped up in their house, waiting until the heat is off and he can make a clean break for it, has already garnered Winslet a best actress nomination at the Golden Globes.
She plays Adele Wheeler, a single mother of a 13-year-old son who is struggling to maintain after a series of miscarriages and a divorce have broken her. Brolin is the murderer who shows up in her life at the start of the Labor Day weekend, and her unlikely savior.
For this is an unlikely love story if there ever was one.
Adele falls for the convict holding her and her son hostage -- if you can call it that, when in fact Frank Chambers spends his days puttering around Adele's home, setting to rights that which has fallen into disrepair since her divorce -- while director Jason Reitman plays a cat and mouse game over the facts of his murder conviction. Why is Frank Chambers in jail and whether or not he should return is revealed in a series of fractured flashbacks (by far the most imperfect portion of the film).
Well before we know what sent him away, we're forced to ask ourselves whether it even matters as Frank's presence and gentle ministrations to Adele and son Henry breathe life back into their sad home.
Because, after all, there is that pie. And oh what a pie it is.
Or what a pie-making it is, rather.
Peaches glistening with sugar. Winslet and Brolin's hands just barely brushing one another as they work their way through the moist fruit. Brolin gently guiding Winslet and Gattlin Griffith (the young actor who plays her son, henry) step by step through the process of crafting the perfect pastry.
The pie is the moment Adele falls in love with Frank Wheeler, despite everything he represents, and in many ways it is the essence of this movie: darkened crust on the outside with an ooey, gooey inside.
It's a sweet movie. It really is. But even with good performances from Winslet and Brolin both, and a plot that is far from your prototypical girl meets boy love story, Labor Day never quite propels past the romantic schmaltz that will keep it in "date movie" territory.
Which might just make it the perfect Valentine's Day indulgence. And then ... get some pie!
What is your perfect date movie?
Image via Paramount