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Linda Cardellini, Michael Shannon, John Slattery, Talia Balsam, Emma Rayne Lyle ... see more see more... , Paul Sparks , Louisa Krause

Back from a tour of duty, Kelli (Linda Cardellini) can't wait to rejoin her old life in the Rust Belt town in which she's always lived. She's ready to experience the old feelings of everyday life-the ... read more read more...carpet under her bare feet, a cold beer in front of the television, the smell of her baby's head. But slowly, her world comes to feel unfamiliar. Her friends love her but seem preoccupied with trifles. Her children need more focused attention than she can give, and as much as he tries, her husband Mike (Michael Shannon) doesn't understand what she's been through. As Kelli's dislocation ripples through her world, she risks becoming an outsider. When she's thrown back on her own resources Kelli has to struggle to find a new way forward. -- (C) Official Site

Flixster Users

40% liked it

839 ratings


84% liked it

37 critics

Unrated, 1 hr. 37 min.

Directed by: Liza Johnson

Release Date: February 10, 2012

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Stats: 19 reviews


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Flixster Reviews (19)

  • August 23, 2013
    "Return" starts with Kelli(Linda Cardellini) coming home to Ohio after serving overseas in the army for a year. In the meantime, her husband Mike(Michael Shannon), a plumber, has been caring for their daughters who have grown a little in her absence. Otherwise, not much has cha... read morenged, as her job is the same in a warehouse and she still hangs out with the same friends. And then everything falls apart for Kelli...

    In trying to dramatize the travails of servicepeople returning home, this movie takes the path of utmost subtlety, eschewing any kind of political statement. But then some times you can have too much nuance, as the movie is coy about what is probably causing Kelli's depression until almost the end.(Since Vietnam, returning servicepeople have had a problem adjusting since they are instantly returned to their civilian lives but that's probably not the case here since Kelli is fine at first.) I do buy that she did not undergo anything specifically traumatic overseas, either. What I don't quite get is what has to happen for Kelli to ask for help or why those around her aren't more understanding. And Linda Cardellini's performance does nothing to help since it varies little, except for the scene where Kelli wants to rip the head off of the person sitting across from her. That allows John Slattery and a surprisingly mellow Michael Shannon to steal the movie out from under her.
  • November 27, 2011
    Understated, impressive performance from Linda Cardellini. Review soon.

Critic Reviews

Stanley Kauffmann
June 19, 2013
Stanley Kauffmann, The New Republic

The writer-director is Liza Johnson, an artist, making her first picture and doing it with considerable grace. Full Review

David Edelstein
February 13, 2012
David Edelstein, New York Magazine/Vulture

This quiet, naturalistic film has a classical arc and a lingering sting. Full Review

Dana Stevens
February 10, 2012
Dana Stevens, Slate

Finally someone has written a really good role for Linda Cardellini -- a big, prickly, demanding role that puts her onscreen in literally every scene -- and it's a thrill to watch her operating at ful... Full Review

Lou Lumenick
February 10, 2012
Lou Lumenick, New York Post

Sincerity and restraint can be good things in independent movies, but not when you run the risk of putting the audience to sleep... Full Review

Sheri Linden
February 9, 2012
Sheri Linden, 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. Full Review

Stephen Holden
February 9, 2012
Stephen Holden, New York Times

You admire these characters for their considerable resilience while understanding that even the best-intentioned people can break under the stress. Full Review

Joe Neumaier
February 9, 2012
Joe Neumaier, New York Daily News

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. Full Review

Noel Murray
February 9, 2012
Noel Murray, AV Club

Return is unusually attuned to its protagonist's alienation, which is especially painful because its source isn't some horrendous event she witnessed, but the hundreds of annoying aspects of everyday ... Full Review

Rex Reed
February 8, 2012
Rex Reed, New York Observer

A bargain-budget bore by writer-director Liza Johnson about a female soldier back from a tour of active duty in Iraq who cannot adjust to life at home. Full Review

Joshua Rothkopf
February 7, 2012
Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out New York

It's what indie filmmaking ought to be. Full Review

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Return Trivia

  • Who starred in Cocoon: The Return, Ace Venture: Pet Detective, and Scream?  Answer »
  • What was the highest grossing film in 2003, (world-wide)?  Answer »
  • Lord of the rings: Return of the king: After being crowned king, who did Aragorn bow before?  Answer »
  • In what Halloween movie does Jamie Lee Curtis make her return.  Answer »

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