Movie Review

Return to Me

MPAA Rating: PG for language and thematic elements.

Reviewed by: Halyna Barannik
CONTRIBUTOR

Better than Average
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Teen to Adult
Genre:
Romantic Comedy
Length:
_____
Year of Release:
2000
USA Release:
_____
Scene from “Return to Me”
Featuring: David Duchovny, Minnie Driver, Bonnie Hunt, Carroll O’Connor, James Belushi
Director: Bonnie Hunt, Lazlo Kovacs
Producer: Jennie Lew Tugend
Distributor: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

When I cry at movies, it is usually at the end, when all the action comes together for a touching finale or message. While watching “Return to Me”, all the people in the audience and I cried within the first ten minutes. And ten minutes later, we laughed. And laughed many times after that.

This is a heart-warming, sweet story about a man named Rob (David Duchovny) who loses his wife in a car accident. Through serendipity, destiny or the bungled matchmaking efforts of his friends, he meets a woman named Grace (Minnie Driver), with whom he feels instant rapport. Intrigued by her and her Irish/Italian family that runs an Irish-Italian restaurant, he asks Grace out. Their relationship develops under the caring and watchful eye of her family, especially her grandfather, played brilliantly by Carroll O’Connor, who raised Grace after her mother died and her father disappeared. Unbeknownst to Rob, Grace was the recipient of a heart transplant. What the audience knows and what eventually Rob finds out is that Grace received Rob’s late wife’s heart.

Scene from “Return to Me”

The acting in this movie is very fine, with excellent performances by all, including Bonnie Hunt, who plays Grace’s concerned sister-like friend and who wrote and directed this movie. The Irish-Italian clan that hover over Grace and her promising romance offer humorous thematic material, with Carroll O’Connor playing the doting grandfather. His gentle bantering with his colleagues at the restaurant, including Grace’s quintessential Italian uncle (Robert Loggia), as they fuss over Grace, is delightful script-writing and direction. The many comic moments and aspects are a good balance to the serious content of the car accident and heart disease. The romance between Rob and Grace develops without any sexual immorality or even undertones. At the end, the audience and I cried again, happily.

For the romantic at heart, this is a good movie. There is some bad language by Bonnie’s husband (played by James Belushi); the action may be slow for the younger crowd. But otherwise, this is clean entertainment, especially for adults, who will understand the slow development of a romance and the factors that can influence it.


Viewer Comments
We watched this movie as a family (kids ages 5, 9, 11 and 13). My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed it! We watch many romantic comedies, but this one stands out. On the plus side, people pray in this movie and faith is present. The starring couple DO NOT sleep together and there is absolutely no sexual innuendo. The only objectionable moments are is a handful of profanity which can actually be taken as funny given the family setting in which it is seen. We will buy this movie and add it to our collection. My Ratings: [Better than Average / 5]
—Paul Atkinson, age 44
The charmful innocence of the film was so refreshing! This movie was downright heartwarming. Duchovny and Driver’s chemistry onscreen had me truly wanting to see them together. Before it was even half over, I whispered to my husband, “I WANT this video!”. This has to be one of my new favorites. My Ratings: [4/4]
—Kris, age 28
I would just like to say that with the exception of the profanity between James Belushi and Bonnie Hunt, this movie is one of the best that I have ever seen. It is not often that I can watch a romantic comedy that is not so sexual that I feel dirty walking out of the theater, but I could with this movie. The acting in this movie is so quality and heartmoving that you just want to stand up and clap in the theater. David Duchovny and Minnie Driver give excellent, true to life performances about falling in love. As far as some claims that the music is lame in this movie, that could not be farther from the truth! Sinatra and Martin may be “old-school”, but let’s hope that the music world has not left us in the hands exclusively of “Kid Rock” and the “Red Hot Chilli Peppers” in order to find something to listen to. The music for this movie is entirely appropriate for the movie, and, in my opinion, it enhances the performances greatly to hear the old time boys sing their sentimental love tunes. I truly enjoyed this movie, and I have recommended it to many people. My Ratings: [3½/5]
—Bethany, age 21
I’m still concerned when movies insist on putting an excessive amount of profanity in the film and making it sound funny. This film had everything going for it as far as script, story and the strong moral statements it made as far as commitment, family and even faith. Yet it insisted on sideswiping with a “lot” (regardless of others’ opinions, 20 or 30 swear words is not negligible) of profanity. Have we become so jaded and accepting that it doesn’t bother us anymore? At any rate, I would recommend this movie with a strong understanding that the language will have to be waded through to see the message, which is good and worth seeing. I’m not unrealistic about what’s out there, just hopeful and a little sad that we’ve conceded this point so easily. My Ratings: [3/4]
—Gene Fend, age 39
…It was adorable! It contained a low amount of profanity and was genuinly uplifting and sweet. Completely recommendable if you’re lookin’ around for a classic romantic comedy. Bonnie Hunt did a really great job all around with this movie. The only thing I found quite objectionable was the music—good-NESS! Could it be any more lame? …It’s pretty much a chick-flick, but guys whose girlfriends make ’em go see it with them shouldn’t be all THAT bored… a friend of mine saw it just because of Minnie Driver and he said it was worth it.
—Joan, age 23
We enjoyed this movie sooo much. I was very disappointed by the kissing scene in Bob’s house, however. It was totally unnecessary, especially in an otherwise clean movie. We really enjoyed the family dynamics, both in the restaurant and at the sister’s house. It’s not often in a movie that one gets to see an example of married love like that of Megan and Joe. The family at the restaurant was delightful. It was precious to watch them taking care of Grace, hovering over her like a bunch of mother hens, but eagerly pushing her out of the nest when the time came. I wish there were more movies like this that let us enjoy the relationships between people, without having to follow them into the bedroom! My Ratings: [3½/4]
—C. Lewis, age 39, non-Christian
A great movie for parents and their teenage children to see. Pretty clean. A very cute film except for some brief language. Very realistic drama. Definitely reccomended. My Ratings: [3½/4]
—Teresa Anderson, age 19
What a wonderful movie! I would recommend to anyone. Funny, sweet, and romantic. Clean humor. David D. plays a great character, one of his best works outside of “X-Files”.
—Megan, age 20
“Return to Me” was definitely a great movie! My favorite kind of movies are usually action-packed ones, but this one in particular was an exception. The only real fault in this movie that I saw, was the profanity, but it was hardly noticeable when compared to other “PG” movies. This movie had it all… lots of humor, romance, and even a few tears. A great date movie (for you parents out there), even a great one just to see while with your friends. I can hardly wait to buy this one!
—Sal, age 13
I found “Return to Me” to be the perfect date movie. It is rare that one finds a romantic comedy that doesn’t show the characters having sex within a few dates [if they even wait that long!]. Additionally, I found the writing to be heart-warming and humorous. The four older gentlemen who watch over Grace and have her best interests at heart were wonderful characters. For teens or adults, I highly recommend this movie.
—Lisa, age 38
This is the best movie I have seen in years! It is clean, heartwarming, and hopeful. My husband and I saw it twice and will buy it when it becomes available. Although I did not see it with my children, I would feel comfortable taking my 9 year old daughter. Belushi’s bad language was not in any way offensive, and any parent could relate to the context it was used in. The movie’s highlight was the caring family relationships portrayed within the Irish-Italian clan.
—Sarah Modisett Lee, age 34
I really wanted to submit a review for this one, but just didn’t have the time! What a great movie! From a Christian perspective, chastity until marriage is encouraged and demonstrated, God is credited as the source of all the coincidental and semi-miraculous events that occur, prayer and respect for God is present, and all in all it’s just a good clean, VERY funny and uplifting film. Family life (with multiple children and two happy parents!) is positively demonstrated. I just can’t say enough good about this film. On top of all that, the film has a great script, great acting by all and is really good! See it!
—Timothy Blaisdell, age 36
“Return to Me” starring David Duchovny and Minnie Driver was a wonderful, sweet, old-fashioned romantic movie. It was very clean. However, the police officer played by James Belushi used a great deal of profanity in front of his children and then covered their mouths when they repeated it. (Tongue-in-cheek, he expressed “surprise” that his children would use such language… where could they possibly have heard it?) Other than the language, it promoted marital happiness and marriage overall. The movie has a lot of humor which is well done. My Ratings: [3½/4]
—Sharon, age 47