10 Movies To Watch With Your Sweetie: Return to Me
Return to Me (2000)
Minnie Driver: Grace Briggs
David Duchovny: Bob Rueland
Carroll O'Connor: Marty O'Reilly
Robert Loggia: Angelo Pardipillo
Bonnie Hunt: Megan Dayton
Jim Belushi: Joe Dayton
David Alan Grier: Charlie Johnson
Written by Bonnie Hunt and Don Lake
Directed by Bonnie Hunt
Return to Me is an old-fashioned love story. It's sweet and innocent and the emphasis is on romance and emotional intimacy. This movie could've been made in the late 50's or early 60's with Doris Day and Rock Hudson or Audrey Hepburn and William Holden. Some movies just make you feel good because their kind and gentle and care deeply about their characters. Return to Me is like that. If detached cynicism is your thing or you just think movies like this are only for women, then move along. But, it'll be your loss.
David Duchovny stars as an architect named Bob whose wife works at the Lincoln Park Zoo. They are madly in love, but tragedy strikes (this isn't a spoiler) and she dies. She is an organ donor and her heart is transplanted into a young waitress named Grace, played by Minnie Driver. Because this is a romantic comedy, Bob is drawn to the family-owned cafe where Grace works. They meet and instantly fall in love. Grace learns early on in their relationship that Grace's heart came from Bob's wife. Bob, however, is unaware. That's pretty much all you need to know.
Movies like this rely on the chemistry of the leads and Minnie Driver and David Duchovny have a natural bond. You believe they're in love and you're invested in what happens to them. Yes, complications ensue and obstacles must be overcome. What happens when Bob learns the truth? Does he love Grace because she's Grace or is it a way to hold on to his late wife? This is all told with an easy-going charm that infuses the performances and the tone is that of gentile humanity. These are nice people and Bonnie Hunt directs everything with a deft touch. There is a recognizable naturalness to the relationships. Characters live and breathe instead of just helping move the plot along. I particularly liked the two men who ran the restaurant where Grace works. They are Marty and Angelo, played respectively by Carroll O'Connor and Robert Loggia. They and a couple of other older gentlemen play cards when the place is closed and serve as a kind of Greek chorus for the proceedings while debating the music of Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin.
Look, this is either your thing or it ain't. Return to Me is earnest and wears its heart on its sleeve. Sure, it can get a little too quirky for its own good sometimes, but that's also part of its appeal. Curl up on the couch with your love, open a bottle of wine (or whatever you want), and turn on Return to Me and just feel good.