Return to Sender

Return to Sender

Taglines: He picked the wrong address.

Return to Sender is an American thriller film directed by Fouad Mikati. The film stars Rosamund Pike and Nick Nolte. The film was released in the United Kingdom on May 22, 2015 and in the United States on August 14, 2015.

Miranda Wells, a nurse living in a small town, has a nice life. She is about to become a surgical nurse and is buying a new house. She’s single and one of her friends sets her up on a blind date with a man named Kevin. On the day of the date, while she’s still getting ready, Miranda hears someone outside on the porch. She opens the door and finds, who she assumes is Kevin standing there, and invites him in. She offers him some lemonade and goes into her bedroom to finish dressing.

While she is changing, he notices packing boxes in the house and asks her if she is moving. She replies that she is, and when she comes out of her room she sees he is blocking the door. She starts to feel uneasy and asks him to leave and come back later for their date. He refuses, but she insists that he leave so she can finish getting ready. He walks to the door and locks it. He then attacks and rapes her. Later he is seen running away from the house as someone else comes to the door and knocks.

The door is ajar and the man, the real Kevin, comes in calling out for Miranda. He finds her in the kitchen and calls the police. Miranda is next seen in the hospital, beaten, and having a rape kit and photos taken by the police. The police ask if she had ever seen the man before, and she says that, actually, she had. They quickly go and arrest the rapist, William Finn.

Return to Sender

Miranda tries to carry on as normal, but her real estate agent tells her that they can’t sell her house now. No-one wants to buy a house where someone was just raped. While icing a cake at home she notices a tremor in her right hand and realizes that she can’t work in surgery because of it. She decides to write a letter to William in prison, and on mailing the letter she smiles.

She starts making changes in her life and home, trying to move on. She has shutters fitted on her windows and her father, Mitchell, tries to fix a swing that her dead mother was fond of. Miranda objects, as she only wants new things in her house, and they fight.

Miranda’s letter to William keeps being returned to sender. She continues to resend the letter and finally she receives a response and goes to visit William. He apologizes repeatedly for what he did to her and she begins to visit him regularly. They become friendly and flirt with each other during her visits. Meanwhile, Miranda also befriends her father’s aggressive dog by feeding him treats. The dog gets sick, stops eating, and eventually dies.

When he is released, William sends Miranda flowers and makes plans to visit her. When he arrives at her home she puts him to work fixing up the porch of her house. They continue to flirt but she never allows him into her house. When William goes to the hardware store where Mitchell works, Mitchell realised who he is and charges over to Miranda’s house to warn her he’s out of prison. When he realises William has been to the house they fight again.

Return to Sender

Review

n my head I’m calling this film What Is This I Can’t Even: The Movie. It works at least as well as the blandly generic and not even really apropos Return to Sender, which describes a tiny section of the second act that then resolves itself and has no further bearing on the story. In fact, the bearing it does have on the story hardly makes any sense at all, not on the level of plot, character, or theme. Not that the plot, characters, or putative themes make any sense on a whole-movie level, either.

Miranda (Rosamund Pike: Gone Girl, Hector and the Search for Happiness) is a nurse. She’s not very nice to her coworkers or supposed friends, except when she’s making them master-pastry-chef-type cakes for their birthdays. “It’s just something I do,” she announces with faux modesty, when she really means, “You probably won’t even appreciate it as you shove it in your gob, you disgusting slob.” Credit, I guess, to Pike for making us understand that that is the subtext of her dialogue at that moment — though poor Camryn Manheim (Jewtopia, An Unfinished Life)

for having to play that coworker and “friend” as a person whose defining characteristic is that she is a fat woman who is constantly eating. But even Pike, who is a fantastic actor, cannot make us understand why this cold, nasty bitch — there really is no other way to describe Miranda, and that’s being generous — behaves as she does after she is the victim of a terrible home-invasion attack. She lets William (Shiloh Fernandez: Evil Dead, The East) in because she thinks he is the blind date she is awaiting, and then he rapes her violently. Because of course he does.

Creepy rapists skulking around outside ladies’ houses in broad daylight! Really, movie? It’s like a 1980s made-for-cable cautionary tale about women living alone and agreeing to blind dates. Anyway, it’s fine that Miranda is a disagreeable person, as potentially intriguing characters go, but that doesn’t explain, on its own, what happens next.

Return to Sender Movie Poster

Return to Sender

Directed by: Fouad Mikati
Starring: Rosamund Pike, Shiloh Fernandez, Nick Nolte, Camryn Manheim, Alexi Wasser, Rumer Willis. Illeana Douglas
Screenplay by: Patricia Beauchamp, Joe Gossett
Production Design by: Freddy Waff
Set Decoration by: Erika Rice
Art Direction by: Chere Theriot
Music by: Daniel Hart
Studio: Image Entertainment
Release Date: August 14, 2015

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