After my wife and I put the boy to bed last night, we snuggled up on the couch to fall asleep to a movie that we’ve seen several dozen times in the last two years. Return to Me, with David Duchovny and Minnie Driver in the staring roles, with Carroll O’Connor, Robert Loggia, Bonnie Hunt, David Alan Grier, James Belushi and Joely Richardson filling out a wonderful supporting cast. Directed by Bonnie Hunt.
***WARNING – THE MOVIE IS GOING TO BE DISCUSSED FROM THIS POINT FORWARD!***
There, you’ve been warned. Return to Me is romantic comedy that begins by introducing you to Bob (Duchovny) and Elizabeth (Richardson) Rueland who have been together since they were 15 years old (they’re now in their mid-thirty’s. After an unfortunate accident early in the film, Elizabeth is killed in a car accident.
Fastforward one year. Bob is still struggling to come to terms with Elizabeth’s death and finally, after repeated requests, decides to go out on a blind date set up by his friend Charlie (Grier). They meet up at O’Reilly’s Italian Restaurant, a family business that is owned by brothers-in-law Marty O’Reilly (O’Connor) and Angelo Pardipillo (Loggia). Grace is Marty’s granddaughter and the waitress at Bob and Charlie’s table, which is how the couple is introduced.
Let the romance begin. As the movie moves on, and they continue to fall in love, Grace struggles with issue of telling Bob that she’s had a heart transplant. She is very selfconscious and doesn’t want people thinking of her as broken. Finally, she gets the courage to tell him. Before she can do so, she finds a letter in his house in a pink envelope – the letter that she had mailed to the transplant family thanking them and expressing her gratitude for the heart that she has. In a panic she leaves without telling Bob the truth.
A few days later, as Grace is preparing to leave to Italy to get away from the situation, she tells Bob the truth – that she’s had a heart transplant and that she was the recipient of Elizabeth’s heart, but that she only knows that because she found the letter. Bob leaves struggling with the news, not knowing what to think.
Grace spends her time in Europe not being able to paint and grieving for the loss of her love. Bob continues to struggle with the thought that his new found love might always be a reminder of his wife that was taken from him. Finally, Bob goes to the restaurant looking for grace. When he finds that she’s gone he finally reveales his decision – “I miss Elizabeth, I will always miss her. I ache for Grace.” He flys to Italy to find her and they live happily ever after.
This is a movie that will make you laugh. It will make you cry. It will make you smile until your face hurts, and then smile some more for a day or two (I’m still smiling!). If you’re in the mood for a Romantic Comedy, you can’t miss Return to Me.