Netflix Instant Pick: Return to Me

Every other week we recommend a movie we love that is available via Netflix instant view, the greatest thing ever created! Enjoy!

I don’t consider myself a chick flick aficionado and I normally don’t enjoy films marketed specifically to women, but Return to Me is one of my favorite movies to binge on Ben & Jerry’s to, and I mean that in the best way. It’s a tear-jerker, but it’s also a movie with a lot of heart, comedy, and great performances.

The film was written and directed by Bonnie Hunt, a personal favorite of mine, and tells the story of Grace (played by the awesome Minnie Driver), a young woman in need of a heart transplant, and Bob (played by the equally awesome David Duchovny) an architect and recent widower who befriends Grace after the sudden death of his wife Elizabeth (Joely Richardson). Bonnie Hunt gives a pitch-perfect performance as Grace’s best friend Megan, David Alan Grier is charming as Elizabeth’s colleague Charlie, and the always wonderful Carroll O’Connor (Archie Bunker!) plays Gracie’s loving and devoted grandfather Marty.

The story leaves little room for big surprises and because the audience is almost always aware of what will happen, they can be completely immersed in the love story being told. It’s a love story told on multiple levels between friends, family and lovers. And perhaps most poignantly for some viewers, it’s a film about individual passion and drive to achieve personal goals and dreams.

When Gracie receives another chance at life, she wants nothing else then to be able to ride her bike to work, paint, and travel to Europe. The love she ends up finding is a fortunate “accident” constructed by the fates. For Bob, the ultimate battle is struggling to overcome his feelings of pain and loss so that he is able to finish his most important project, a new memorial gorilla sanctuary at the zoo where Elizabeth worked as a zoologist. It is through his relationship with Grace that he finds the strength to move on, while still holding his memories close. And finally Marty, who finds that by letting go of his fears surrounding Grace’s fragile health, he is able to take part in and support her new found happiness and strength.

The film deals with painful subjects, but as in real life, the pain is dealt with most often by humor. Some of my favorite scenes in the film are with Marty and what I like to call “the old gentlemen’s poker club,” a group of old friends who celebrate life in similar ways to the pals at Cheers. O’Connor alone is reason enough to watch this film-his performance is truly at the heart of it all.

For a wonderful story that is never schmaltzy, Return to Me is worth at least one viewing, and if you’re like me, you will always return time and again.

Watch it now!