Return To Me
A good romance should have heart, and Return To Me does in the most literal sense.
Bob (David Duchovny) dearly loves his wife Elizabeth (Joely Richardson). While Bob designs buildings, Elizabeth pampers gorillas at Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo until a fateful evening. After a fund raising bash for the new gorilla habitat Bob's promised Elizabeth he will build, the couple is in a car accident (unseen to us) that takes Elizabeth's life.
While Bob grieves, somewhere else in this large city is Grace Briggs (Minnie Driver). Suffering from a congenital heart defect, inherited from her late mother, Grace's Catholic family and friends fervently pray for her only hope of survival -- a donor heart. Fortunately Elizabeth signed her donor card and her heart becomes Grace's opportunity.
Over the next year, Grace recovers from her surgery under the loving care of her Irish grandfather Marty (Carrol O'Conner), and is soon able to work at the Irish-Italian restaurant he co-owns with his brother-in-law chef Angelo (Robert Loggia). After hours, these elderly men play cards with their friends, and dish up as much humor as they do advice about Grace's future.
Finding a man for Grace also occupies the interests of her best friend Megan (played by Bonnie Hunt, who directed and co-wrote the film). Megan and her blue-collar husband Joe (James Belushi) have five children and a loving relationship, even though Joe is usually muttering profanities that are repeated (to his wife's distress) by their children.
Not having the same support group with which to share his sorrow, Bob moves through a series of events that eventually lead him to meet Grace. There he finds encouragement, support, and most all -- Grace. With their attraction growing, neither is yet aware of the unusual connection between them.
My expectations of a contrived sentimental romance were all but gone fifteen minutes into this film. Like a sweet and sour sauce, this witty script, full of superb acting, provides tears, laughter, and faith in a refreshing way as it blends Bob's grief with Grace's joy.