Critic Consensus: Powered by a compelling central performance by Linda Cardellini, Return offers a painfully compelling look at the emotional struggles faced by war veterans.
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Critic Reviews for Return
The writer-director is Liza Johnson, an artist, making her first picture and doing it with considerable grace.
This quiet, naturalistic film has a classical arc and a lingering sting.
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.
Sincerity and restraint can be good things in independent movies, but not when you run the risk of putting the audience to sleep...
With its modest scale and sharp observations, writer-director Liza Johnson's first feature has the quiet impact of a short story.
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.
Understated, impressive performance from Linda Cardellini. Review soon.
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