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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The War At Home: Earnest Performances Highlight This Quietly Personal Film
I've followed Linda Cardellini's career ever since the wildly entertaining days of "Freaks & Geeks" (a great show that never had the audience it deserved, but everyone loves in hindsight). She has matured in interesting ways as an actress, and brings a surprising gravitas and a world weary appeal to the indie drama "Return." In many ways, it is Cardellini that is the...
Published on April 19, 2012 by K. Harris

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Filmnut1
Why is this film in the lesbian section? Although good acting, very true account of what is happening with our returning service men and women, I did not intend to rent a film that dealt with men and women sex trials and tribulations.
Need to put this in the drama section regular mainstream movies..
Published 22 months ago by Filmnut1


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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The War At Home: Earnest Performances Highlight This Quietly Personal Film, April 19, 2012
This review is from: Return (DVD)
I've followed Linda Cardellini's career ever since the wildly entertaining days of "Freaks & Geeks" (a great show that never had the audience it deserved, but everyone loves in hindsight). She has matured in interesting ways as an actress, and brings a surprising gravitas and a world weary appeal to the indie drama "Return." In many ways, it is Cardellini that is the primary selling point of Liza Johnson's introspective look at a soldier's homecoming. "Return" is not the first film to delve into this subject, nor will it be the last. It does, however, have a unexpected matter-of-factness that serves the piece well. The screenplay isn't populated by big dramatic moments. Instead, it is filled with quietness, regrets, things left unsaid, disappointments. Cardellini brings a tremendous amount of depth to this believable role without ever resorting to grandstanding. Every emotion is simply etched across her weathered face.

Cardellini plays a wife and mother returning to her small town existence after a deployment overseas. The film never tells you much about her experiences (she was more support personnel than involved in action), but it is clear that she is having trouble settling back into her old ways. At first, there is a simple bliss but things start to erode as she becomes more and more disconnected. This puts a strain on her relationship with her husband (the always welcome Michael Shannon), her co-workers, and her former friends. She simply feels like she no longer fits, and most of the film deals with this struggle.

"Return" is an intimate picture that gets the audience up close and personal. You may not always like or understand Cardellini, but what was fascinating (to me) was that I think she felt the same way about herself. It's not a movie with a big plot or a dramatic character arc. For that reason, some may find it slow or too open-ended. It is simply a slice-of-life glimpse at an all-too-common phenomenon, and it seems both timely and relevant for that reason. As an added bonus, Mad Men's John Slattery has a small, but great, role. But mostly, this is Cardellini''s show. She expresses a lot without saying a lot. If this is any indication, I hope to see her expand into bigger projects (and not of the Scooby-Doo variety, hopefully those days are behind her). "Return" may not, in the end, be for everyone--but it's a solid little film for a patient adult audience. KGHarris, 4/12.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mutant Consciousness in Return, December 2, 2012
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This review is from: Return (Amazon Instant Video)
I have spent many years involved in attempting to characterize a state-of-being my best friend, a silver-star, purple-heart, two-tour veteran of Vietnam, and I have recognized in each other: Mutant Consciousness. We each seem to possess that perhaps undefinable focus upon reality which exists far outside the norm. My friend has also been diagnosed, and has rejected the authority of those who make such diagnoses, as experiencing PTSD. Personally, I never sought any sort of straight explainations for who and what I am. Let it be said, though, that the two of us and very few others we have run across possess, or admit to possessing, this mutant outlook. Kelli most assuredly does, as must Ms Johnson -- or at least she knows someone who does. Possibly from a couple of old guys a lyric from an old song might help one to understand. The Jefferson Airplane sang: "When the truth is found to be lies/And all the joy within you dies...." Their answer was finding someone to love. Kelli must lose her husband, leave her children behind for this simple reason. Only someone else who knows the things you do (John Slattery?) can possibly become your lover. But then, can you be his? The existential truth of the movie is profound and, rather than sad, is liberation. We are all alone. Those who think not are lying to themselves and to their children. Kelli must fly solo into the valley, and whether or not she returns, there will never be for her a Canada to run to; her children will fear her, her friends desert her. Unless she moves off the grid as has Bud she will never find peace. Or Venison.
Just a note: Linda Cardellini is the greatest at portraying those with mutant consciousnesses or those developing same. I still love Freaks and Geeks.
I'll probably watch this movie a dozen more times. It's Great.
Another note, the theme of Mutant Consciousness is central to a novel I am finishing this month. Entitled Army Girl, it covers much of the same issues and relationships that Ms Johnson's movie so brilliantly portrays and will be published by Create Space.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A search for solid ground, February 26, 2013
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This review is from: Return (Amazon Instant Video)
After a tour of duty with the Army overseas, Kelli returns to Ohio to her family and the expectation of re-assimilating back into the life that she knew prior her deployment. Reality trumps her expectations, however, and so begins a narrowing journey to find solid ground again. This is the crux of 'Return'.

Make no mistake : Linda Cardellini puts this movie on her back, and carries it the entire way. She turns in the best performance of her career to date as the young soldier struggling with life as she once knew it. Michael Shannon somewhat steps outside of his comfort zone in his role as her husband, Mike. While often playing quirky, left-of-center characters with strong personalities, he opts for a reserved, soft-spoken approach to play Mike. His performance is as solid as any that he's ever given, and his ever-expanding resume continues to make him one of the more reliable actors working today.

Evenly paced, 'Return' is a character study of a life removed from balance, and the endeavor to restore what once was.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Filmnut1, April 27, 2013
This review is from: Return (Amazon Instant Video)
Why is this film in the lesbian section? Although good acting, very true account of what is happening with our returning service men and women, I did not intend to rent a film that dealt with men and women sex trials and tribulations.
Need to put this in the drama section regular mainstream movies..
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great acting and good story about a returning soldier. The main problem is that it is very slow. Ok but be ready for it.I say B-, March 21, 2012
By 
Tony Heck (Belgrade, MT USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Return (DVD)
"This is just a giant waste of time. I can't do it anymore." After Kelli (Cardellini) returns home from the war she finds it much harder to adjust then expected. Finding life mundane and pointless she begins to drift. When her husband Mike (Shannon) leaves with the kids she is forced to deal with her problem. There have been many, many movies made about problems returning soldiers experience when trying to adjust to day-to-day life. "Home Of The Brave" is one of the more recent great ones. Like that movie this one deals with how she feels that life is so mundane and boring it begins to affect her relationships with others. The main problem with this one is that it seems to take forever to go anywhere. The acting is great and the story is good but again it is very slow and sometimes hard to stay interested in. I would compare this to the recent "Take Shelter" movie in its pacing and feel. If you liked that movie you will probably like this one too. Overall, a very OK movie that could have been better. I give it a B-.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Hey I'm in this movie!, June 13, 2014
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This review is from: Return (DVD)
I love this movie, in addition to RETURN being a remarkable story from the POV of a female soldier serving overseas and good performances by the entire cast, especially Linda Cardellini, I also have a small role in this film.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Involving and Haunting Character Drama, June 2, 2014
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This review is from: Return (Amazon Instant Video)
I was haunted by this story of a woman who returns to her husband and daughters after a tour of duty in Iraq. Like many veterans, she finds it difficult, if not impossible, to return to her life as it was. I thought the performances were first-rate, especially by Linda Cardellini and Michael Shannon, and found the film to be life-like and not overplayed. The kind of film that stays in your mind for some time afterwards.
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4.0 out of 5 stars decent movie with linda cardellini, November 16, 2013
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This review is from: Return (Amazon Instant Video)
linda cardellini is great in anything. okay movie, but i'll watch her in anything. it's a slow moving movie, but i enjoyed it.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, August 13, 2013
By 
Thomas G. Reiter (Sewell, NJ United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Return [HD] (Amazon Instant Video)
I like most of the work by Linda Cardinelli but this movie was not one of them despite her being nominated for an Independent best actress award. She is a good actor but this script was just bad, the ending was terrible.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Slow moving and predictable, May 25, 2013
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This review is from: Return (Amazon Instant Video)
I liked the idea of the movie. I liked the fact that she was a veteran and served her time. But, I just did not enjoy the movie.
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Return
Return by Liza Johnson (DVD - 2012)
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