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Return

NR CC
3.7 out of 5 stars (25) IMDb 6.1/10

From Focus World: When Kelli returns from military duty in Iraq, her life as wife and mother is changed forever.

Starring:
Linda Cardellini, Michael Shannon
Runtime:
1 hour, 38 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Drama
Director Liza Johnson
Starring Linda Cardellini, Michael Shannon
Supporting actors John Slattery, Talia Balsam, Paul Sparks, Louisa Krause, Rosie Benton, James Murtaugh, Bonnie Swencionis, Emma Rayne Lyle, Tabitha Depew, Victoria Depew, Wayne Pyle, Cheyenne Ruggiero, Dana Chaifetz, Roetta Collins, Daniel Breen, Chris Sager, Linda Kutrubes, Edward Crawford
Studio Focus Features
MPAA rating NR (Not Rated)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By K. Harris HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on April 19, 2012
Format: 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.
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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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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.
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Linda Cardellini is a wonderful actress. I loved her on "E.R." back in the day.

Now she's a mother with two daughters and a cheating husband and back from the "war" as a Reservist.

When she moves she tells every untold story that soldiers never tell. She's so fine an actress without saying
much at all; it's all in her body and her beautiful face.

I understand my son better now as a returned veteran who just can't seem to setttle back down and be at peace
in a non-war zone.

Brilliant film. But oh how I wish there was peace.
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