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Return (2012)



Average Rating: 6.1/10
Critic Reviews: 11
Fresh: 8 | Rotten: 3

No consensus yet.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.1/5
User Ratings: 839

My Rating

Movie Info

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 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


Drama, Action & Adventure

Liza Johnson


Dada Films - Official Site External Icon

Latest News on Return

February 10, 2012:
Critics Consensus: Journey 2 Isn't Quite Worth the Trip
This week in multiplexes, "Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace" gets a deluxe 3d rerelease, but...


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All Critics (37) | Top Critics (11) | Fresh (31) | Rotten (6)

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

June 19, 2013 Full Review Source: The New Republic
The New Republic
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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

February 13, 2012 Full Review Source: New York Magazine/Vulture
New York Magazine/Vulture
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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 full throttle.

February 10, 2012 Full Review Source: Slate
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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

February 10, 2012 Full Review Source: New York Post
New York Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

With its modest scale and sharp observations, writer-director Liza Johnson's first feature has the quiet impact of a short story.

February 9, 2012 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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

February 9, 2012 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Return is a commendable, genuine, and simple drama that effectively highlights the intrinsic trauma soldiers face when trying to come to terms with the reality of life back home.

November 25, 2013 Full Review Source: Quickflix

Skipping the usual flashbacks-and-cold-sweats cliches, Return has an understated power, even if the story traverses pretty well-trodden ground.

April 29, 2012 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

This is a quiet, honourable, carefully paced little independent movie, like a Sundance Institute coda to The Deer Hunter.

April 7, 2012 Full Review Source: Observer [UK]
Observer [UK]

Cardellini holds the restless centre of Liza Johnson's patient, precise drama, which brims with quiet disaffection.

April 5, 2012 Full Review Source: Guardian

A debut of sober distinction, carried by the seriously good Linda Cardellini as a US Army supply worker whose readjustment to Rust Belt domesticity is touch and go.

April 5, 2012 Full Review Source: Daily Telegraph
Daily Telegraph

As hounourable as its intentions are, the feeling of been there, done that pervades.

April 5, 2012 Full Review Source: Little White Lies
Little White Lies

Johnson's narrative control is as assured as her visual sense. She skilfully captures the dead-end decency that compounds the servicewoman's mix of trauma and frustration.

April 5, 2012 Full Review Source: Radio Times
Radio Times

Michael Shannon steals the film - when does he not? - as the loving, frustrated husband whose fuse is burning short.

April 4, 2012 Full Review Source: Financial Times
Financial Times

There's no glib emotional grandstanding with the cast - particularly the excellent Cardellini - unshowily inhabiting their roles and underlining the assertion that it really could happen to anybody.

April 4, 2012 Full Review Source: Sky Movies
Sky Movies

Impressively directed, sharply observed and emotionally engaging drama with a terrific central performance from Linda Cardellini.

April 4, 2012 Full Review Source: ViewLondon

It's a focused, unshowy character study, light on fireworks but full of authentic drama and featuring an impressive lead performance from former ER actress Linda Cardellini.

April 3, 2012 Full Review Source: The List
The List

This is Cardellini's film, and she dominates with a terrific, tough-minded turn.

March 26, 2012 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

A striking, humane, low-fi coming-home drama whose very title has a relaxed connotation that the movie robustly embodies.

March 23, 2012 Full Review Source:

It's a well-made but grim psychological melodrama.

March 16, 2012 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Unique for how normal it is, and laudable for its humbleness.

February 29, 2012 Full Review Source: Not Coming to a Theater Near You
Not Coming to a Theater Near You

It's the brief glimpses of unsettling ordinariness -- ho-hum drug dependency, the joy of scoring a good plumbing job, the downsizing of a factory to two lone, lonely figures -- that gives Return its real punch

February 16, 2012 Full Review Source:

Cardellini's lovely performance is so vividly expressive in its soulful, anguished stillness.

February 16, 2012 Full Review Source:

Liza Johnson's feature film debut tackles a tough subject and comes through with a passing grade. There will be more from her in the future.

February 15, 2012 Full Review Source: Monsters and Critics
Monsters and Critics

Audience Reviews for Return

"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 changed, 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.
August 23, 2013
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

Understated, impressive performance from Linda Cardellini. Review soon.
November 27, 2011

Super Reviewer

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