Juno and Up In The Air director Jason Reitman’s fifth feature film Labor Day saw an extremely limited release on December 25th in order to qualify the film for 2013 awards consideration, and the publicity roll-out has begun in advance of the film’s wide release on January 31st.

Based on the novel by Joyce Maynard and adapted by Reitman, the film follows a depressed single mom (Kate Winslet) whose son (Gattlin Griffith) offers help to a wounded hitchhiker (Josh Brolin) who turns out to be an escaped convict. Winslet and Brolin’s characters seem to be emotionally damaged in similar ways, and the family begins to heal even as the authorities close in.

The film’s first two trailers effectively established the complex drama’s tone and conveyed an impressive amount of detail in a nuanced way (thanks in no small part to cinematographer Eric Steelberg’s gorgeous camerawork), and now a new TV trailer for the film compresses the story even further. Watch the new TV spot above, courtesy of Yahoo! Movies.

All the trailers sell the film as a romantic drama, with the television spot replacing the theatrical trailer’s voice-over by Tobey Maguire (credited as “Older Henry Wheeler”) with a narrator spelling out the movie’s plot in a short span of time. Reitman’s previous films have been heavily satirical, but there has been a clear sense of the director moving away from the smarmy comedy of Thank You For Smoking and Juno, revealing a new maturity with his previous film Young Adult. The barbed laughs in that film did not always go down easy.

There appears to be almost no comedy in Labor Day (despite the title echoing broad, holiday-themed romantic comedies like Valentine’s Day and New Year’s Eve), and while reviews have so far been mostly positive, the movie’s overt melodrama seems to have been embraced by the director. Filmmakers like Todd Haynes have used the melodrama to subvert the genre’s meaning, as in 1950’s-set Far From Heaven, which exposed the dark places beneath such pat stories.

Reitman appears to have completely embraced the genre’s trappings, which may or may not work against the film’s success with critics. Still, when a talented director decides to change things up it’s always worth a look, especially with such a powerful cast as Brolin and Winslet (with Clark Gregg in a supporting role) turning in what appears to be deep, committed performances. This looks to be a very earnest story, and Reitman’s new level of maturity as a director is refreshing to see.

Labor Day opens wide on January 31st, 2014.

Source: Yahoo! Movies