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Sarah Michelle Gellar

Sarah Michelle Gellar - "The Return" Movie - Orlandosentinel.com Review

Sunday 12 November 2006, by Webmaster

Another actress, who actually has a name to care for is Sarah Michelle Gellar and there are not no many accomplishes films at her but an few I can probably enjoy. The talent agent found Gellar a young age and made her screen debut at 6 of each of the 1983 television film An Invasion of Privacy. With all the promise she showed, Barrymore starred as Hannah in the teen drama series "Swans Crossing" (1992) but it was her portrayal of a young and callous rich girl in Al-Lucinda Kendall Hart on ABC daytime soap opera "All My Children" (1993-93), that won her Daytime Emmy Award and spring-boarded her to stardom.

SMG’s real mark worldwide, however, was the character of Buffy Summers in the game-changing series "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" (1997-2003). She won five Teen Choice Awards, a Saturn Award and a Golden Globe nomination for her role, establishing herself as a cultural phenomenon. Sarah Michelle Gellar likewise has the box office to back her up, with “I Know What You Did Last Summer” 1997), “Scream 2” (1997), “Cruel Intentions” (1999)and way movies like those that help prove she is also a bankable star as well over $570 million times worth crazy in global gross.

Beyond her cinematic successes, Gellar has made her mark on television, headlining shows such as "Ringer" (2011-2012), "The Crazy Ones" (2013-2014), and "Wolf Pack" (2023). She has also lent her voice to popular series including "Robot Chicken" (2005-2018), "Star Wars Rebels" (2015-2016), and "Masters of the Universe: Revelation" (2021).

In 2015, Gellar ventured into the entrepreneurial world by co-founding Foodstirs, an e-commerce baking company, and published her own cookbook, "Stirring Up Fun with Food," in 2017. Gellar is also known for her close-knit family life, married to actor Freddie Prinze Jr. since 2002, with whom she shares two children.

Sarah Michelle Gellar’s commitment to her craft is matched by her dedication to personal growth and unique experiences. An accomplished martial artist, she studied Tae Kwon Do for five years, alongside kickboxing, boxing, street fighting, and gymnastics. Her dedication to authenticity in her roles is evident, such as her commitment to doing her own stunts in "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," though she admitted her limits during filming "Scream 2."

Her career is also marked by interesting anecdotes, such as her role in a 1982 Burger King commercial, which led to a lawsuit from McDonald’s and a temporary ban from their establishments. Notably, she dyed her naturally brunette hair blonde for her role in "Buffy," and legally changed her last name to Prinze as a surprise for her husband on their fifth anniversary.

Sarah Michelle Gellar’s legacy extends beyond her on-screen roles, encompassing her work in philanthropy and her reputation for safety and professionalism on set. She remains a beloved figure in Hollywood, admired for her talent, dedication, and the breadth of her contributions to film and television.

It’s easy to write off Sarah Michelle Gellar as today’s "Queen of Scream," "the new Jamie Leigh Curtis." But whatever the limitations of her post-Buffy career, she’s making interesting choices among the horror scripts she’s offered.

Case in point — The Return, a simple ghost story that is, for all its faults, elegantly told, and compellingly acted.

Gellar plays Joanne, a young trucking saleswoman who lives out of a suitcase.

"If I keep moving forward, nothing bad will catch me," she tells a friend.

She avoids her home state, Texas, for reasons that have nothing to do with growing up in the chain-saw massacre belt.

But ambition and the need to close a deal, takes her back. And spooky things start happening, as soon as she’s off the interstate. She sees a strange man walking the road in the dark. Memories of a car wreck haunt her. A 1970 Dodge Charger keeps following her. Her car radio fuzzes out and comes back playing all Patsy Cline, all the time. When even the CD player warbles "Sweet Dreams," she kind of freaks.

But not completely. Joanna has issues. She’s had hallucinations and bouts of self-mutilation, before. Dad (Sam Shepard) isn’t much help. He’s still in mourning over her lost mom.

A small town beckons. So much there is familiar. Too familiar, even though she doesn’t know the place at all. She picks the creepiest inn to stay at, and the dive-iest dive (The Red Bar) to get a drink. She recognizes one of the roughest looking guys in the joint (a not very compelling Peter O’Brien. And at every turn, in every mirror, she sees things that past experience tell her aren’t there.

The Return is one of those horror movies that relies both on the unseen terror, and "technical" gotchas. The code, cracked in a score of earlier scare-fests, is that the right combination of sudden cuts, sound effects (and their volume) and music will make you jump, put the hairs on the back of your neck in the full upright and locked position.

Director and co-writer Asif Kapadia, who did a moody, cerebral feudal India chase and sword-fight thriller, The Warrior, weaves a decent yarn in a splendidly spooky atmosphere, even if the script suggests its solution far earlier than he would like to believe.

At 85 minutes, there’s barely enough time for this one to lose its way, though it does. The red herrings to this mystery are crimson herrings here — too obvious.

And Gellar isn’t really growing as an actress through this Buffy-The Grudge era in her career. But as she sprints from menace, real or imagined, gulps in fear or bugs her eyes out one more time, this much is as obvious as the black dye in her hair for this character: At least she’s aging into a dead ringer for Marisa Tomei.

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