Return (2012) - Rotten Tomatoes

Return (2012)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Return Videos

Return Photos

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 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
Action & Adventure , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Box Office:

Watch it now


Louisa Krause
as Shannon
Rosie Benton
as Brooke
James Murtagh
as Mr. Miller
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Return

Critic Reviews for Return

All Critics (39) | Top Critics (12)

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

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
Los Angeles Times
Top 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
New York Times
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Return

This was the longest hour and a half of my life. Mostly because I tried to watch it last night, got half way through, fell asleep, watched another chunk of it while drinking coffee this morning, and then finished the movie after I got back from classes. Let's just say I wasn't exactly on the edge of my seat during this one. Which sucks, because the story is interesting enough, Linda Cardellini and Michael Shannon are quite good, and there is a lot of potential here. The big thing that is missing from this is conflict. There is none. There is one scene of real conflict that doesn't happen until there is about 45 minutes left in the movie. And there is so much POTENTIAL for conflict. Him sleeping with the girl from the car dealership (which is never really answered) Her getting a DUI (which I didn't even get until she said she got one, I just thought she was falling asleep driving), Her trying to get pregnant so she doesn't have to go back (Shit there's an entire movie in that alone.) And it goes on. See what I mean? So much could have been done, but instead we had an hour and half of a woman wandering through her life. Which, yes I get that was kind of the point. But in the end, I wanted more.

Jillian Leff
Jillian Leff

"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.
Walter M.

Super Reviewer


Linda Cardellini is fantastic as Kelli, a woman that returns from a military tour of duty and tries to adjust back to civilian life as wife and mother.

Natalie Metzger
Natalie Metzger

Return Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

Discussion Forum

Discuss Return on our Movie forum!

News & Features