Return to Me (2000) is your basic chick flick, a romantic comedy where the story line is well know by everyone in the audience and the outcome is a given. I half expected the main characters to be portrayed by Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan but instead David Duchovny and Minnie Driver played the lead roles.
If the thought of Tom and Meg together on screen sends you running for a Kleenex, I guarantee you'll like this movie for it's warmth and endearing characters. If you find yourself whining about another sappy romance oozing with cuteness within a completely predictable plot, it's best to go find another movie.
Here's the story: Bob and Elizabeth Rueland are the perfect couple - good looking, highly successful in their fields, profoundly in love, and completely devoid of flaws. When Elizabeth dies in a car accident her heart is transplanted into Grace Briggs who waits tables in an Italian-Irish family restaurant. (I'm sure you already figured out where this is going. )
Bob's sadness was portrayed with touching realism, and a year later he and Grace are drawn to each other in the restaurant. Their love grows and they seem headed for a storybook ending delayed only by a few obstacles which obviously will be overcome.
Even though I am not a great fan of romantic comedies, I was drawn in by the convincing acting, an on-screen chemistry that works, and old fashioned family values. This movie would be a great way to show your teenage daughter how to behave on a date. Also, aside from a small amount of raunchy language and a bloody scene following the car crash, the movie is devoid of sex and violence.
I enjoyed the subplot where Elizabeth trains animals in the zoo, and as a way of showing Grace as a warm human being, the animals who were mourning Elizabeth's loss sprang to life when Grace showed up.
Also Bob seemed to take notice the moment the heart transplant took hold, and had a magic connection with Grace from that point on. Grace's grandfather, played by Carroll O'Connor, suggested that maybe that particular heart was meant to love Bob and it needed to be connected to a very special person to allow it to fulfill it's promise.
Return to Me (2000) isn't for everybody but go see it if you and your date are sentimental romantics who enjoy an old fashioned love story. Don't forget the Kleenex.