Return (2011) Poster


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Very sensitive, understated film about a soldier's return home.
dbroder-239-11224318 February 2012
Careful, subtle, artistic portrait of the inner conflicts and turmoil experienced by a woman soldier on her return home from war. From the beginning of her return to her family we see how there are things seriously troubling her that she herself can't put into words. We watch the external, behavioral effects of these psychological conflicts as she interacts with her husband and children who themselves have also been affected. Which war she returns from is not stated, clearly intentionally to show the viewer that this is not important. There is little external drama in this quiet, sensitive demonstration of the powerful psychological forces stimulated by military service in war, both in the service member and in her family. Liza Johnson gives us a movie that shows us a fictional character and her life yet has in every scene a ring of truth. This is an artistic achievement.
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Fantastic performance by Cardellini
Red_Identity6 January 2013
Return is ultimately about the inner turmoil that a woman has on her return from her tour of duty. It's nothing incredibly original, but it's written and directed with enough sensibility and delicacy, and a woman being at the front and center may be something different for viewers. It works because it's never emotionally contrived and it never comes off as anything other than heartfelt and personal. What makes this as effective as it was were the performances. The entire supporting cast does some really solid work, but the praise belongs to Linda Cardellini, who gives a wonderfully understated and subtle performance. It's in her silent moments that she resonates the most with the audience, and she absolutely deserves a lot more mentions. She's either on par or better than several of the actresses in contention for awards. This is highly recommended because it deserves to put Cardellini on the spotlight, and I can only hope this gets seen enough in the upcoming months and as a result it gives her more career opportunities.
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One woman show from Freaks & Geeks star Linda Cardellini
zetes3 February 2013
A more or less unreleased little indie that, for the most part, is as generic as its forgettable title. However, it has one big thing going for it and that is the lead performance, from Freaks and Geeks star Linda Cardellini. While many of her co-stars on that one-season-wonder went on to become big stars, Cardellini has done so little. She was Velma in the Scooby Doo movies, for God's sake. She really knocks it out of the part here as a returning Iraq War veteran who can't re-adjust to normal life. Michael Shannon and John Slattery (of Mad Men fame) co-star, but neither has much to do. Cardellini owns every frame of the movie. The script is nothing special, but she makes it worthwhile. Certainly worth a look, especially if you loved Cardellini on Freaks and Geeks and want to see her shine.
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A painstaking work of art which remains in the memory
perkypops11 May 2013
Liza Johnson's film is a beautifully etched drama about a soldier's return from a tour of duty. The opening scenes of delight to be reunited with her husband and family are soon forgotten as the story concentrates on how Kelli, the returning soldier, must readjust to her role as mother and wife.

One notable gift Ms Johnson has is her ability to hold a quiet contemplative interlude where Kelli is thoughtful and we are too. Pretty soon we get close to Kelli's mindset and how she works, and through this we get closer to all the other characters in her life. There is a lot of hard work put into many of the scenes in which Linda Cardellini (as Kelli) has to look at herself and others in what has fast become an alien environment. A driving under influence complicates things but then do so many of the events which unfold before us.

The acting of Ms Cardellini is superb throughout playing a flawed character alongside so many others but trying to show her love of her children. Ways of changing her circumstances come and go and we see all sides of Kelli as they do. Michael Shannon is as good as he was in Shelter too.

Not everyone will enjoy this film or even rate it, which is a pity. It is not obviously a film pitched at women, or anyone in particular, but it is a story loaded with emotion, profound arguments, prisms of perspectives, and a lot of thoughtful direction.

I rate it very highly because we can see the hard work the artist has put into this work as we see it hanging in the gallery. One day perhaps it'll get the recognition it deserves. I recommend it.
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Cardellini Gives a Superb Performance in this Disturbing Powerful Drama
Larry Silverstein8 December 2012
Warning: Spoilers
The film, which I found could be disturbing and powerful, stars Linda Cardellini and Michael Shannon.

Cardellini is superb as a returning Army veteran where she worked in the supply chain but apparently in a war zone. Although it's never specified you would guess it's Afghanistan or Iraq.

She's greeted at the airport by her husband(Shannon) and her two daughters. They return to their small town home in Ohio.

It's quickly apparent that Cardellini is not the same woman that she was when she left for her one year tour of duty. Seemingly quite depressed she begins to display increasingly erratic and volatile behavior.

One day, on a spur of the moment decision, she quits her long time warehouse job, which had been held for her while she served overseas. She is arrested for a DUI and her license is suspended. One day she gets her days confused and forgets to pick up her daughter, who is found by the police trying to walk home.

All of this leads to severe marital discord, and her husband files and receives an emergency custody of their two daughters but she will be allowed to have unsupervised custody on the weekends.

Cardellini starts to attend court mandated AA meetings but really doesn't open up there about her problems. As she files for a court hearing on custody she gets a redeployment notice from the Army.

She then resorts to more desperate measures which I'll leave to the viewer to see.

This is Cardellini's film and she doesn't disappoint with a riveting and nuanced performance. It can be difficult to watch at times and disturbing but I felt it was worth it.

The film also shines a light on a major problem in this country. You read all the time how returning veterans suffer severe marital stress, turn to addictions, or even commit suicide. Yet it seems not enough turn to any available programs from the V.A. or other organizations. There must be a better way of immediately reaching out to returning vets and helping them cope with the realities of their lives.
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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-
Tony Heck21 March 2012
"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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Should have been on Lifetime
Twins6511 September 2012
Warning: Spoilers
I know this is a bit of stretch, but here it goes:

Remember "Disco & Dragons", the last episode from Freaks and Geeks? Well, what if Linda Cardellini (as Lindsay Weir), who duped her parents into thinking she was going to a summer college academic summit, never did get to Ann Arbor again and enroll at The Univ. of Michigan.

She followed that Grateful Dead tour for about a year, and finally got off the VW micro-bus somewhere in Ohio. She gets a dead-end factory job, joins the reserves, meets and marries a local plumber guy, has a couple of kids, and then has to go abroad for an extended tour of tedious guard duty. Coming back home on the other side of age thirty, she just can't seem to reconnect with her old life (husband, kids, job, friends) at all. A quick downward spiral finds her in rehab, and then she gets the news she's got to go back overseas on active duty once more. Kind of a bit much for a young, fragile mom with two kids she loves no longer in her custody. And there's your movie.

Yeah, there was a quick subplot, as she tried to get pregnant to avoid going overseas again. Once she hooked-up with an Oxycodone snorting Roger Sterling from "Mad Men" she met in rehab, and then tried again with her factory buddy Mickey Doyle from "Boardwalk Empire", but neither of these desperate attempts were 'successful'.

In the end, we're supposed to get a bit of a tied-up gut as viewers, when she hastily grabs the kids and drives away from it all for several miles, only to reluctantly return and get on her fatigues again.

This low-budget indie movie could have worked, as the acting (including Michael Shannon as her hubby) was good. There just wasn't a compelling enough story to grab you in. And unfortunately, (mostly) all post 9/11 war-related movies (and war-at-home movies) have died on the vine, commercially, if not critically, and RETURN certainly falls in the category. Maybe it would have found an audience as a TV movie.
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Slow but portrays a realistic feel that draws you in
Jamie Graham25 December 2014
Warning: Spoilers
This movie is average and nothing special that would draw in a crowd. If your a movie buff and enjoy watching movies for the art and story this is a good one to watch. Acting was very good and draws you into her story and her life. The star of the movie Linda Cardellini really brings out the character and her emotions really show on screen. As you follow her throughout her life after she returns from tour, you get drawn into her life and the troubles she faces upon that return. Facing her past responsibility seems hard for her and hard to get back into the mom and wife routine causing many more issues as she struggles to trust her husband and take care of her children while adjusting to get her life back to the way it was before she left.
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When Johnny Comes Marching Home
valis194921 May 2013
RETURN (dir. Liza Johnson) Linda Cardellini delivers a mesmerizing performance as a woman who returns from a tour of duty in Iraq to find that her old life no longer fits. The film is deliberately and ominously paced as she discovers the truth about her prior existence. Her job is 'a waste of time' (it is, and it was), and her husband seems to have replaced her with an 'angst free' woman. It's not so much that Iraq had changed Kelli, but more that she now realizes that life can be so much more than what is offered in her rural, small town existence. Her friends and family members think that she might have seen devastating or particularly grisly scenes of carnage, yet her most unsettling memory seems to be witnessing a jet plane completely filled with rubber gloves. Her biggest and unstated realization is how shallow and pointless all of their lives really are. When things seem like they cannot get any worse, her husband initiates a custody battle over their two young daughters, and then she learns that she has been redeployed. The film is a stark and heartbreaking portrait of a woman who has been placed in a devastatingly untenable position. MUST SEE.
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It's not easy to say this...
nick-crawford12341 December 2012
Let me start by saying that I love Linda Cardellini, after watching Freaks and Geeks recently I thought I would watch this to see what she was up to. As I expected, Linda did a fantastic job acting and stole the show, unfortunately, the character who Linda plays is about as inspirational as a dead horse.

This movie is painfully and relentlessly depressing, there's no feel good movie here, there's no optimism behind the horizon. Quite frankly, the only reason i would recommend this movie is for a parent to scare their child out of joining the military.

All the acting is quite good, in fact, it's chillingly realistic, but the slow pace, depressing theme with no reward, and them turning Linda Cardellini into a monster don't fly in my book.
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