I’m starting a series of movie reviews for what I would consider ‘sleeper’ movies that aren’t real mainstream (although sometimes they may be), but the main focus will be movies that you may have missed. I will also give each movie a ‘hanky’ rating on a 1-5 scale… based on how many tissues you will need when watching.
DISCLAIMER: I’m a girl… a sentimental, unapologetic emotional female, so these will have a ‘chick-flick’ leaning but not all. A TV show, or movie gets me when it makes me laugh & cry “Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion” (a quote from one of my favorite quintessential ‘chick flicks’).
So… for my first review I am choosing my 2nd favorite movie of all time (1st would be “It’s A Wonderful Life”)… but my second is “Return to Me”
starring Minnie Driver, David Duchovony, Carroll O’Connor, Bonnie Hunt (who also c0-wrote, directed, and produced),and James Belushi. It echoes back to another time in American cinema, when characters, classic actors, and sweet storylines ruled the big screen.
It is heartwarming, and sentimental, with a colorful cast of characters. Characters who aren’t larger than life, but more average persons we may know in our own lives, with his/her own unique idiosyncrasies. Most of the movie centers around “O’Reilly's” Irish Italian restaurant in Chicago (and Hunt uses the Chicago backdrop to create a warm friendly Midwest feel), and the persons who work, and frequent there. The restaurant is run by Carroll O’Connor, and his brother-in law played by Robert Loggia. These 2 characters, and their 2 friends create a foursome who lend the most comic relief to the film. We all have an older gentleman in our life like one of these guys. You can’t help but chuckle at their antics, and insight into life.
One of the most endearing scenes is when Grace (Driver) asks her grandpa (O’Connor) if he needs help closing up the restaurant to which he responds “No thanks… I’m blessed with work”. Additional comic relief is provided by the husband & wife with a houseful of kids, played so believably by Bonnie Hunt, and Jim Belushi.
Of course, the center of the story is a love story between Duchovny, and Driver’s characters. The sweetness in their romance is very endearing. It is refreshing to see a good old-fashioned romance… where it develops, and evolves over the course of the film. Not just two characters meeting, and immediately jumping into bed together.
Hunt also uses a classic soundtrack of Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, and the like to create a timeless feel to this sweet romance.
This movie unlike any other captures the ‘laughter through tears’ emotion unlike any other I have seen.
HANKY RATING; I give this a 5 out of 5 hanky rating. You’ll need tissues at the beginning, middle, and end… both from laughing, and crying.TRAILER: