The film opens with a loving husband and wife preparing for a very important fund raising dinner. The evening ends with the loss of the wife. In a hospital a weak young woman who may die soon if she can not get a new heart. Jump ahead one year the young woman received a heart and is trying to adjust to a life no longer counted by hours or days, she can actually make plans. The grieving husband and his dog are still trying to adjust to life without his wife. His friends keep trying to pry him from his "work is my life" existence by setting him up on blinds dates. Finally he actually shows up for one at an Irish-Italian restaurant where he finds himself more attracted to the waitress than his blind date. He finds an excuse to return to the restaurant in hopes of seeing the waitress again, there's just something attractive about her. Unknown to both the attraction they both feel for one another is Grace has the heart of Bob's dead wife. What can you say after that! Carroll O'Connor says ... Written by
There really is a bicycle shop names Rudy's on Irving Park that opened in 1937. See more »
In one scene, Mel (the dog) has two dog dishes near the door. Bob picks one up and carries it into the kitchen, but when the shot cuts back to the dog at the door, there are still two dishes on the floor. See more »
[after accidentally slapping Bob for brushing her chest]
Oh! I'm so sorry! I'm re... oh... Did you see anything?
[rubbing his cheek]
I wasn't looking.
No, no, I know, but it's because I had a heart... I had a heart... I had a heartwarming dream about you.
Ugh! Must have a been a nightmare.
No. I mean, you were very...
You had a sex dream about me?
No! I didn't have... I didn't have a sex dream about you. I just met you, I don't even know you. I'm really... sorry...
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One of the most surprisingly well done films I have seen in quite some time.
When I saw the trailer for this film, I said out loud to no one in particular "this film is going to bomb." I also said that about THE MATRIX and look at what happened there. Now I am not a box office guru by any stretch but I usually have a pretty good gut about what is going to be good and what is going to really suck. In this case I was blinded by my complete and utter apathy towards David Duchovney. Let me put it to you a different way: I don't like his as a person ( from what I have read of him in interviews, he is unbelievably pre-madonna like and he is full of himself considering all he has done is X-Files ) or as an actor. PLAYING GOD was a really poor film but he came off thinking that for some reason he deserved big bucks on the big screen. But I am happy to say that even though those things may still be true about the man, Return To Me is delightful and has it's heart in the right place. Bonnie Hunt has directed a beautiful story and she has told it with class and grace. This is one of the most romantic films I have seen and even though it may seem to be a bit sad and maudlin in its premise, give it a chance and you will be hooked.
It has to be said ( and this pains me to do so ) that the reason this film works so well is because of the story and the cast. Duchovney and Driver are so wonderful and believable here that I honestly wanted to cry along with them. There is one particularly powerful scene when Duchovney comes home after his wife has died and he slumps down on the floor of his house. As it always does, the family dog looks to the door to wait for his wife to come walking in. She doesn't and with his shirt collar still stained with blood, Rob ( Duchovney ) tells him that she is not coming home, ever. He then calls the dog over to him and they seem to share a cry together. The dog lets out a small moan and then Rob cries. And this is one of the most realistic moments of pain I have ever seen in any character in any movie. You can feel his pain and at that moment I forgot I was watching an actor that I generally don't like, and I felt that I was watching someone that I knew moarn the loss of his beloved. This is powerful stuff.
Another strength of the film is the supporting cast. Bonnie Hunt has combined an ethnic melting pot of Irish and Italian characters that share a common bond. They share a pub called O'Reilley's Italian Pub. That is a delicious name all by itself. And heading the diametric scale of clashing cultures is Carol O'Connor and Robert Loggia. These are two proud old men that love their homeland but love their granddaughter and niece ( I think it is ) respectively. And that is the character played by Minnie Driver. This scenario is ripe for comedy and Hunt doesn't miss anything here.
Bonnie Hunt and James Belushi also share some funny moments together as the middle aged married couple and Belushi gets top points as he accepts humility gracefully and shows off his ample keg of a stomach for laughs. With his family consisting of three or four kids, there is very little time for him and the wife to have quality time. And again Hunt handles this with perfect elegance.
This is a wonderful story of finding true love, knowing how lucky you are to have true love and the power of friendship and family. Return To Me is a wonderful romance and even though I still don't have a great admiration for David Duchovney, I have to admit that he was perfect in this role and I could not picture anyone else playing his character. He was sensitive and believable and the movie was good because of him, not just because of him, but he sure added to the flavour.
If you are a sucker for a good romance and you want a good cry, then this is the film for you.
8.5 out of 10 I will see anything that Bonnie Hunt puts out with her in the director's chair.
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