“Return to Sender” | Movie Review

Grade (C-)

Hard to call this one entertaining when the tagline and movie poster give away the third-act plot twist.


A nurse living a quiet life goes on a blind date with a man who is not what he says and from that day her life will never be the same.

My Thoughts

There were two reasons why I watched this film, Rosamund Pike, and the brief synopsis other than that I new nothing about this one. I had seen no trailers, not read any reviews nor had I seen the movie poster. With that said, my complete lack of information, and zero expectation for what this script would deliver still only resulted in the film being average at best.

First the positives about this film. Rosamund Pike was excellent. She carried her role in convincing fashion and was able to convey a mystery about her character to blend with her social personality that resulted in a strong female lead for a film with this theme. The first-act had a very good set-up, it does not take long for things to get going and the tension is swiftly ramped up pulling you into the story-line. After an uncomfortable scene, that charges the fuel for the plots progression you can feel for Pike’s character and a strong connection is created to see how she will fare throughout the film.

Nick Nolte came in with a surprisingly emotional performance and despite the role Pike gave, he was the most energetic character in the story. His performance unfortunately will not get the praise it deserves as he clearly brought the most out of his thin material and the story around him failed to truly captivate. Nolte also created believable chemistry with Pike and their relationship in the film was enjoyable to watch leading to a couple of heart-warming moments.

The problems with this film were the pacing. The middle of the film drug on for so long and after being able to assume the outcome of the story and what the third-act would give me, the flow of the story was killed. It was a simple guess as to what the twist would be and once it finally does come, it arrive with more of a ‘it’s about time’ mentality rather than the intended dramatic and suspenseful impact. After the film ended it felt like a wasted performance from Pike and Nolte that will eventually be clouded over with a weak script making this one very forgettable.

When writing the review for this one and seeing the promotional taglines and posters for this film I notice the entire twist in the third-act is given away. Why a project would do this to itself is beyond me, knowing nothing about this mystery made it average at best with good moments that don’t add up to a great story. However, by having the plot revealed in the trailer and promo material, makes this an even more boring mystery that fails to build suspense or intrigue after doing so very early on.

“Return to Sender” was not a horrible film, it does have moments of intrigue and mystery about it, but the story structure was very un-creative. After it was over my initial thought was, the evening could have been spent watching something much more enjoyable and fulfilling than this one.