(2011)

Critic Reviews

63

Metascore

Based on 12 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
80
Return is almost too underdramatized to seem like a piece of today's zoomy entertainment, but its anxieties-the bare cupboards, the vague sense of purposelessness-are at the heart of the American experience for many. It's what indie filmmaking ought to be.
70
The New York Times
In this stratum of Middle American society during wartime and hardship, the movie suggests, life is tough and challenging. You admire these characters for their considerable resilience while understanding that even the best-intentioned people can break under the stress.
70
Los Angeles Times
With its modest scale and sharp observations, writer-director Liza Johnson's first feature has the quiet impact of a short story.
70
New York Magazine (Vulture)
There are a couple of hundred instances in which Johnson or her actors could take condescending short cuts and slip into white-trash stereotypes, but I didn't see any - only gifted performers vanishing into their characters, refusing to pass judgment.
63
As director Liza Johnson understands, simply being over there changes someone, no matter if anything unusually traumatic happened to the person.
60
Johnson's feel for the rhythms of reconnection are steady, and she and her fine actors make Return one of only a handful of films to honestly address what to many is heartbreaking reality.
60
Reversing his "Take Shelter" role, Michael Shannon convinces as her grounded husband and "Mad Men's" John Slattery offers good support as a fellow vet. But this is Cardellini's film, and she dominates with a terrific, tough-minded turn.
50
Firmly in the unassuming indie vein, Return treads lightly and leaves little imprint.
50
Return comes briefly to life when John Slattery of "Mad Men'' turns up as an acerbic yet sympathetic reclusive drunk whom Kelli meets during court-mandated rehab. But it's not enough for a film that limps along to a pretty much preordained climax.
25
Ms. Cardellini plays it like a zombie, and she isn't helped by all the loitering camera angles and repetitive close-ups of her head framed against car windows. It's a worthy subject, ploddingly explored in a film that is too modest for its own good.

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