Metascore
63

Generally favorable reviews - based on 12 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 12
  2. Negative: 1 out of 12
  1. Reviewed by: Noel Murray
    Feb 8, 2012
    83
    Return is unusually attuned to its protagonist's alienation, which is especially painful because its source isn't some horrendous event she witnessed, but the hundreds of annoying aspects of everyday life.
  2. Reviewed by: Joshua Rothkopf
    Feb 7, 2012
    80
    Return is almost too underdramatized to seem like a piece of today's zoomy entertainment, but its anxieties-the bare cupboards, the vague sense of purposelessness-are at the heart of the American experience for many. It's what indie filmmaking ought to be.
  3. Reviewed by: Andy Klein
    Feb 10, 2012
    75
    Shannon chalks up another line on his rapidly growing résumé of memorable performances. But it's mostly Cardellini's show – she's in every scene. Her portrayal may at first seem opaque, as though she isn't quite sure who Kelli is. But that is, of course, the point. Kelli isn't quite sure who Kelli is.
  4. 70
    There are a couple of hundred instances in which Johnson or her actors could take condescending short cuts and slip into white-trash stereotypes, but I didn't see any - only gifted performers vanishing into their characters, refusing to pass judgment.
  5. Reviewed by: Sheri Linden
    Feb 9, 2012
    70
    With its modest scale and sharp observations, writer-director Liza Johnson's first feature has the quiet impact of a short story.
  6. Reviewed by: Stephen Holden
    Feb 9, 2012
    70
    In this stratum of Middle American society during wartime and hardship, the movie suggests, life is tough and challenging. You admire these characters for their considerable resilience while understanding that even the best-intentioned people can break under the stress.
  7. Reviewed by: Andrew Schenker
    Feb 6, 2012
    63
    As director Liza Johnson understands, simply being over there changes someone, no matter if anything unusually traumatic happened to the person.
  8. Reviewed by: James Mottram
    Mar 26, 2012
    60
    Reversing his "Take Shelter" role, Michael Shannon convinces as her grounded husband and "Mad Men's" John Slattery offers good support as a fellow vet. But this is Cardellini's film, and she dominates with a terrific, tough-minded turn.
  9. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    Feb 9, 2012
    60
    Johnson's feel for the rhythms of reconnection are steady, and she and her fine actors make Return one of only a handful of films to honestly address what to many is heartbreaking reality.
  10. Reviewed by: Lou Lumenick
    Feb 10, 2012
    50
    Return comes briefly to life when John Slattery of "Mad Men'' turns up as an acerbic yet sympathetic reclusive drunk whom Kelli meets during court-mandated rehab. But it's not enough for a film that limps along to a pretty much preordained climax.
  11. Reviewed by: Nick Pinkerton
    Feb 7, 2012
    50
    Firmly in the unassuming indie vein, Return treads lightly and leaves little imprint.
  12. Reviewed by: Rex Reed
    Feb 8, 2012
    25
    Ms. Cardellini plays it like a zombie, and she isn't helped by all the loitering camera angles and repetitive close-ups of her head framed against car windows. It's a worthy subject, ploddingly explored in a film that is too modest for its own good.

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