Labor Day is a 2013 movie based on the Joyce Maynard novel and starring Josh Brolin and Kate Winslet. It takes place in the 80s. Adele is a depressed single mom who cannot cope with life, who is living in an old house at the edge of town with her 13-year-old son, Henry. While they are clothes shopping, a bloody man approaches Henry and forces them to take him back to their house. Once there, he tells them he is Frank, a convict wanted by the local police after breaking out of jail.
Through a series of flashbacks, it is revealed why he went to prison years earlier. During a violent argument with his wife, she taunts him when she tells him he isn’t her son’s father. He shoves her and she falls, hitting her head on a radiator which results in her death. At the same time the baby who was left alone in the tub upstairs, drowns. Frank is sent to jail for murder.
Also through flashbacks, we see Adele suffers from significant psychological issues including severe social anxiety and depression because of her many miscarriages and the full-term stillbirth of a baby girl. Eventually, Henry’s father divorces her, leaving him with the task of being both a son and a husband (innocently) but he realizes he can’t provide everything Adele needs.
Over the next few days the three of them experience what a happy family life could be. Frank does repairs on the house, cleans and cooks. He even plays baseball with Henry. Adele begins to come out of her shell and teaches them both how to dance. Of course their perfect little world is shattered when the police finally catch up with Frank.
My sister and I watched Labor Day over the Christmas holidays. She’d seen it before and recommended it. She said it was nothing like she’d expected, and after watching it, I agree. To me, the movie seems to be showing us how different their lives could have been if they’d only taken a different path. It also seems to say it’s never too late to find the kind of happiness that comes from knowing you’ve found your soul mate. Is it realistic? Probably not. How many escaped convicts are truly good men like Frank? It was lovely, however. Once again, my sister was right. Labor Day is good movie that will touch your heart.
Poor Man’s Chili
Instead of a recipe for Peach Pie, I opted to feature this recipe. The movie shows Frank preparing chili, chopping onions and browning them with hamburger meat and tomatoes. It looked so good I could almost smell it!
I got this recipe from a friend’s mother. I used to go home with her after church on Sunday morning and spend the day. Often her mother cooked a huge pot of chili and served it with sharp cheese and pickles. I asked her for the recipe and through the years, it’s become a favorite in my family as well.
1 ½ 1b ground meat (venison, turkey or beef)
1 can ranch style beans
1 small can tomato sauce
1 onion, minced
Red Pepper, Chili Powder, salt, pepper, garlic salt (to taste)
Saute onions, add meat and brown. Pour in beans and add spices. I add a little at a time until I get the taste I want. Simmer until serving.
It’s a great meal to serve on a cold, rainy day when you crave something that will warm you up inside and out.