A long time ago, Billy Joel wrote “Only The Good Die Young”.
He should have said only the great die young.
James Dean, Natalie Wood, River Pheonix, Heath Ledger, James Gandolfini.
Sometimes the greatest talents aren’t destined to die of old age. They die well before that, when they are still at the peak of their greatness.
Phillip Seymour Hoffman‘s name can now be added to this list.
He died this morning of an apparent drug overdose.
I saw him in the most recent revival of Arthur Miller’s classic play, Death Of A Salesman. While he was a few decades younger than the character and Brian Dennehy, who had played the character in the previous revival, it felt like I was seeing this play and introduced to this character for the first time.
His Willy Loman was a man of big dreams, caught between the past and the present, between dreams and reality. It was an incredibly powerful performance. I wish I had seen it more than once.
My heart and my prayers go out to his friends and family.
While he is gone from this world, his work and his legacy will remain.
Romantic dramas and coming of age stories usually fall into two categories: Sappy and predictable or suspenseful and unpredictable.
Labor Day, thankfully falls into the second category.
Based on the book of the same name by Joyce Maynard, Labor Day is a love story, but also a coming of age story.
Adele (Kate Winslet) is a divorced single mother who has become anxious and isolated since her husband Gerald (Clark Gregg) left her for another woman. Her son, Henry (Gattlin Griffith) tries to make up for his father’s absence, but is lacking. When a convict, Frank (Josh Brolin) uses them as a means to hide until he can escape from the police, he becomes the father Henry needs and provides the love that Adele needs.
I enjoyed this movie. It sort of had a Wonder Years type of narrative. Toby Maguire narrates the story as an adult Henry, remembering those fateful 5 days. It could have been sappy, cliched or predictable. But it wasn’t. I was on the edge of my seat the entire movie. Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin have electric chemistry, Gattlin Griffith plays his character as both a young boy on the edge of growing up, but also taking on the responsibility of being the man of the house.
I may just read the book.