Thursday, October 15, 2015

Return to Sender – Pales in Comparison to Gone Girl

Runtime: 95 minutes
Release Date: August 14, 2015
Rating: ?
Director: Fouad Mikati

Miranda is a single woman living in a tiny town who has little friends beyond her dad and some of the other nurses she works with. Though she is a talented cake artist and is in the process of buying a new home, her friends think she needs more in her life and set her up with a nice guy named Kevin. On the day of their blind dates, she hears a knock at the door and assuming that it's Kevin, she lets in the normal and slightly looking cute guy there. He quickly becomes irrational, chases her around her house, throws her down on the island in the kitchen, and rapes her.

The man, who we later learn is named William, runs off, leaving her blind date to come across her battered body. Though they catch William and send him to prison, Miranda finds that she can't get her life back together again. She develops a tremor in her hand that keeps her from decorating cakes and stops her from getting promoted to a better department in work, and she has to pull out of the new house because no one will buy her old house. Her agent even tells her that no one will buy it because of its bad reputation.

Miranda finally decides to take matters into her own hands and take back her life again. She paints her house, installs new shutters, and renovates her kitchen to make her house look brand new again. She also writes William a letter, which he sends back return to sender. After sending him dozens of letters, he finally agrees to see her. They begin writing each other, talking on the phone, and she visits him frequently. When William gets out of prison early, we learn why she formed a connection with a man like him.

You can't watch Return to Sender without comparing it to Gone Girl, but this movie is definitely no Gone Girl. All the elements are there, but it just feels like there's something missing. There are things like how Miranda takes the time to befriend her dad's dog. The dog never liked anyone, especially her, but she eventually spends time feeding it and caring for it. When the dog dies, we're left suspecting her of being the reason for its death even though we have no proof. I'm assuming it was put in there as a way to show what she's capable of but it's just kind of blah.

Nick Nolte plays her dad, and his talent is so under utilized that he's literally billed as Miranda's Father. We see him stumbling around everywhere, falling down all the time, and generally having health problems, but she basically just ignores him. He does have a great scene where he sees William in the hardware store and seriously contemplates attacking him with a bat. Unfortunately, that leads to a scene where he confronts Miranda and she lies right to his face before blowing him off.

While Rosamind Pike as Miranda wasn't the best, Shiloh Fernandez did a great job as William. There was a scene between him and his “roommate” in prison that left all three of us squirming in our seats.

Having loved both the book and movie of Gone Girl, I was looking forward to Return to Sender but, no pun intended, it didn't deliver. By the time it finally reached the point everyone waited for and wanted to see, it glossed right over her revenge.

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