A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In this love story, guy has girl (architect Bob -- David Duchovney -- married to beautiful Elizabeth -- zookeeper Joely Richardson). Then guy loses girl in a car accident, guy meets new girl named Grace (Minnie Driver) who doesn't want to tell him that she had a heart transplant, guy finds out that the heart came from his late wife, and everyone gets over it and gets on with living happily ever after. Grace lives with her grandfather (Carroll O'Connor), owner of an Irish-Italian restaurant that is home to a community so adorable and loving that they could be birds and cherubs perching on the finger of an animated Disney heroine. Her friend Megan (Bonnie Hunt) is living in happy domestic chaos with her husband (James Belushi) and four children. Bob's friend Charlie (David Alan Grier) is there to fix him up with Ms. Wrong, so that he can have a reason to go to Grace's grandfather's restaurant and leave behind the 21st century equivalent of a glass slipper – his cell phone.
Is it any good?
RETURN TO ME is a pleasant date movie, a romance that tries hard to transcend its gimmick and just about succeeds. While it's a very creaky premise, at least this isn't one of those movies that drags out the telling part and then just as she is about to spill the beans he finds out anyway and it takes another half hour to straighten it all out. And at least there is no maudlin "Chicken Soup for the Soul"-type stuff about how this is the gift his late wife brought to him or anything like that.
We know where it is all going from the first five minutes. So we can sit back and enjoy the ride, in the capable hands of director/co-star/co- scriptwriter Bonnie Hunt. Hunt, a terrific character actress lets the couple's friends and family add a lot of life and depth to the story. They give Bob and Grace more personality and interest, sort of character by association. And, this is a rare movie in which the couple does not go to bed together almost immediately, partly because of Grace's sensitivity about her scar, and possibly also because Bob needs to take things slowly, too.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how people decide how much of themselves to share, about how people cope with loss that seems devastatingly overwhelming, and about Grace's grandfather's comment that "It is the character that's the strongest that God gives the most challenges to." Families can also talk about how couples make decisions about the risks of physical intimacy as well as emotional. And families can also talk about the loving way the people in this movie care for each other and enjoy each other.