Labor Day

Composed By: Rolfe Kent

Songs By: Various Artists

Distributed by: Warner Bros. Records

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


                In Labor Day, a movie based on a novel by Joyce Maynard, Kate Winslet stars as Adele Wheeler, a single mom raising a 13-year-old boy (Gattlin Griffith) in a small rural town.  When Adele and her son Henry are approached by escaped prisoner Frank Chambers (Josh Brolin), they could never imagine that Adele would fall in love with him and that he would become a father figure to Henry.  Unfortunately, a series of events conspire to ensure that their moments of romantic bliss are short-lived.

                The Labor Day Soundtrack features music by artists Arlo Guthrie, Vashti Bunyan, Shin-Ichi Fukuda and Andrés Segovia and musical score by British composer Rolfe Kent.  Coming from a non-musical family, it may seem surprising that Rolfe Kent had aspirations to become a film music composer at the age of twelve.  Inspired by musical scores for Lawrence of Arabia and The Good, The Bad and the Ugly, Kent pursued his dream, following the advice of a music teacher and pursuing an educational path that would allow him more flexibility in his compositions.  During his career, Kent has composed musical scores for over fifty films, including  Sideways, Election, Mean Girls, The Matador, Legally Blonde I and II, Wedding Crashers, The Ghosts of Girlfriends Past and more. 

                The songs are interspersed between the score on this album and reflect vastly different genre.  Arlo Guthrie's I'm Going Home has a country flare, while Vashti Bunyan's Here Before is alternative pop/folk.  Shin-Ichi Fukuda's Exercises in B Minor, Op. 35, No. 22: Allegretto and Andrés Segovia's Romance de los Pinos share an intrinsic instrumental beauty; Fukuda's instrumental being of a classical nature while Segovia's being of a more Spanish folk style.

                The score begins somewhat ominously, with strings, piano, harps and more performed in lower registries, becoming softer towards the middle of the soundtrack.  For example, Price Mart, where the Wheelers meet Chambers is a tad ominous as one could imagine the fear and foreboding attached to observing a bloody man hiding and having that same man force you to take him to your home.  But in Frank the Handyman, the music is brighter and higher pitched, defining the special relationship achieved between the Wheelers and Chambers.  Things get a little sadder toward the end of the soundtrack, but the sense of foreboding is lost.  Tracks like Frank is Arrested and Henry Grows Up show a new side to the movie characters, one that is much changed thanks to these lives intertwining and influencing each other in such unexpected ways.

                Having seen the previews for this movie and having my interest peaked, I was immensely happy to receive the Labor Day Soundtrack for review.  I'm happy to say that the soundtrack has inspired me to actually see the film in the theaters once it is released rather than waiting for it to be released on DVD.  The music tells a story of lost individuals finding an unexpected bond in the least likely of situations and benefiting from that bond in an enlightening and beautiful way.  I can't wait for the film to hit the theaters, but for now, I'll be content to listen to the beautiful storytelling found in the music of the Labor Day Soundtrack.


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