How much levity belongs in art? Especially in art that deals with serious subject matter? Think about 2012’s Django Unchained. It was one of the few films to address slavery in quite some time. Of course, its approach is very much a Tarantino one; while the movie is a drama, it is chock-full of stylistic and humorous touches that lighten the otherwise devastating subject matter. Contrast this with last year’s 12 Years a Slave, which pulls no punches in its stark, honest portrayal of the horrors of the institution. Does one film mean “more” than the other because of its tone? Is Django Unchained less important because it is less serious? These questions are hard to answer, and they persist – most recently in Big Bad Wolves, a 2013 Israeli thriller.
Welcome! To Stockholm Syndrome: The Movie.
Or, Labor Day. The film is adapted and directed by Jason Reitman, based on the novel by Joyce Maynard. I was aware of the middling reviews the film received, but I have an appreciation for Reitman’s previous films. I hoped that there might be some silver lining that half of the critics weren’t catching; surely Reitman brought some of his creative charm to the experience. Right?