Return (2012)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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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 … More

Rating: Unrated
Genre: Drama, Action & Adventure
Directed By:
Written By: Liza Johnson
In Theaters:
Box Office: $6.7k
Dada Films - Official Site


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Critic Reviews for Return

All Critics (37) | Top Critics (11)

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

Full Review… | June 19, 2013
The New Republic
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | February 13, 2012
New York Magazine/Vulture
Top 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.

Full Review… | February 10, 2012
Top Critic

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… | February 10, 2012
New York Post
Top 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.

Full Review… | November 25, 2013

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

Full Review… | April 29, 2012
Empire Magazine

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.

Walter M.

Super Reviewer


Understated, impressive performance from Linda Cardellini. Review soon.

Daniel Parsons

Super Reviewer

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