We need more directors willing to take risks with films like Get Out.
Here's an old-fashioned love story so innocent, so naive, so sweet and sincere, that you must leave your cynicism at the door or choose another movie. Bonnie Hunt's "Return to Me" could have been made in 1955, starring Doris Day and James Stewart. It has been made in 2000, starring Minnie Driver and David Duchovny, and I am happy that it has.
Duchovny stars as Bob, a Chicago architect married to Elizabeth (Joely Richardson), who works at the Lincoln Park Zoo. Scenes establishing their happiness are intercut with hospital scenes involving Grace (Driver), who will die of heart disease unless she receives a transplant. To the surprise of nobody in the audience, Elizabeth dies in a tragic accident, and Grace is given her heart.
At the very moment when it starts beating in her chest, Bob, grieving at home, seems to sense it, as heartbeats on the soundtrack underline the segue. And a year later, Grace and Bob meet in the Old Town family-run restaurant where she works and lives. It is, for both of them, love at first sight, and their romance blossoms until she discovers something that Bob does not know--it is Elizabeth's heart beating in her chest.
Do not fear I have revealed too much of the story, because all of this is essentially setup, easily anticipated. What gives the movie its gentle charm is not the melodramatic story, but the warmth of the performances and the way the movie pokes merrily along, teasing us with rewards and disappointments.