Return to Sender by Patricia Beauchamp and Joe Gossett
Return to Sender is unusual and somewhat interesting, at least up to the point when it becomes strange in a negative sense and the performances, which are overall less than enthusing, become outright annoying.
Rosamund Pike is a talented actress, nominated for an Academy Award, strong in films like Gone girl and The Man With The Iron Heart, but in this feature she did not feel strongly about the script, maybe was not helped by the other protagonists, but the fact is that the audience might have problems empathizing with the determined, resilient, forgiving, kind main character, that turns out to be so different from her initial appearance.
Miranda Wells aka Rosamund Pike is a nurse that has accepted a blind date and the jokes associated, the promise to be grateful for the colleague who had arranged this and insists that the heroine must remember in the future, when she will be happy in a couple, who brought about this bliss.
William Finn shows on the porch, earlier than it was arranged and Miranda, in shorts and rather alluring attire, invites him in, offers the guest- and blind date- some homemade lemonade and then invites him to wait until she gets dressed and they can proceed with their meeting.
Only this young man attacks Miranda, throwing her around the kitchen, pulling the battling woman around the floor, then on the table, all the time making it clear that he would not let her go, in spite of her painful efforts, the supplicant words and finally he rapes her and the victim is traumatized, bruised and devastated.
William Finn was not the date, the real would be meeting partner comes at the arranged hour, knocks at the door, sees it is open, comes with flowers in his hand and keeps calling the protagonist until he finds her ravished, in the kitchen.
Nick Nolte is Mitchell Wells, the father of the heroine and the actor has known much better days- his image in a state of collapse has been circulated around the net- and it is good that he is working, the only problem is that he does not appear to bring much to the production, one might feel that in fact, his presence detracts from whatever pleasure the public could get from this motion picture.
Critics have either ignored this feature or really destroyed it, if we look at the disastrous 23 Metascore, which is one of the lowest available…ever (?)
Some of the initial plans would have been laudable, for the narrative has an interesting twist and the evolution of the plot is unpredictable, if unnerving, maybe so much so that one could think of:
“Hell is paved with good intentions”
Miranda learns that her attacker is in prison and she stars seeing him, with some awkward dialogue to start with, which becomes ever more outré and outlandish as the woman seems to feel empathy and more, coming in with rather sophisticated clothes, trying to attract the rapist?
A viewer might consider a classic of Positive Psychology, the How of Happiness, by the wondrous professor Sonja Lyubomirsky, in which the author writes in the chapter on Forgiveness – one of the rules of Happiness actually- about the case of parents who travel to South Africa to meet with the killer of their daughter, the mother taking forgiveness to the extreme wherein she works with the murderer in an NGO with social implications.
When the father sees that the traumatized daughter is inviting the released rapist to her house and the latter helps with the works on the construction, painting and doing repair work, becomes nearly crazy, willing to use a bat for that man.
After all this development that could make you think of the Stockholm Syndrome with a twist, the victim becoming attached to the aggressor, we see that there is actually a different, much darker side to the story.
The victim is actually a sick woman- it may even make some think who deserves more severe punishment, in court evidently- who had killed the lovely dog that her father had owned, just because she did not like it and knew that giving him antifreeze would murder the poor, innocent animal.
Furthermore, she turns with “great vengeance and furious anger” towards the rapist, that we have been so mistaken in thinking that he enjoys the good graces of the Angel of Death, that seems to be very similar to Jules Winnfield aka Samuel L. Jackson and his famous quote from Pulp Fiction:
“Ezekiel 25:17.”The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of the darkness. For he is truly his brother's keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know I am the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon you."
Return to Sender is not the best film you could see- try Pulp Fiction instead.