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Sarah Michelle Gellar

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

Friday 24 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.

The way The Return has been marketed - as a second-rate horror film, rather than the second-rate psychological thriller it is - you have to wonder who’s been choosing Sarah Michelle Gellar’s post-Buffy film projects, and whether that person will still have a job after this one’s released. It’s one thing to avoid typecasting by accepting a string of roles that require running scared from supernatural bad guys instead of kicking their asses, but for those not paying attention, it wouldn’t be hard to mistake this for another Grudge sequel.

To be fair, the film’s advertising has put forth a rather misleading representation of what it’s actually about. Though there are supernatural elements, The Return has little in common with the Grudge franchise. It’s not even a horror film in the strictest sense. While there are some jump-out-of-your-seat moments, the goal of the film is not to scare, but to keep the audience guessing.

The story drops Gellar’s character, Joanna Mills, into the middle of the dingy, backwater town of La Salle, Texas - not far from where she grew up. What her company actually sells isn’t clear, but it’s irrelevant anyway. What is important to know about Joanna is that she is on the road a lot and - much like Susan Sarandon in Thelma and Louise - she’s reluctant to return to Texas (unless, apparently, it involves a big sales contract).

The reason why is soon clear. As she gets closer to the town, she begins suffering from frequent hallucinations that seem tied to people and events she can’t clearly remember from the past. Joanna’s estranged father (Sam Shepard, wasted in an inconsequential role here) can’t provide her with any answers from her childhood, but when she is nearly assaulted by a violent co-worker (Adam Scott), she is saved by a stranger (Peter O’Brien) who may hold the key to understanding who she really is.

As the film’s singular bankable star, Gellar is given the thankless task of holding it all together, but this might have been too much to ask. She spends most of the 85-minute running time (though it feels a lot longer, never a good sign) alternating between the emotions of fright and bewilderment. It’s not entirely Gellar’s fault, as she’s not given much else to do. Neither is O’Brien, ostensibly the male lead, who may very well possess more than an ounce of charisma in other roles, but shows no evidence of that here.

British director Asif Kapadia (The Warrior) employs a muted color palette and shaky camera movements to give the film a feeling that is at once immediate and nostalgic. The rustic landscape is rendered with a stylish eye, but the visuals suffer from a lack of visceral imagery and unfortunately can’t rely on the rather average script to create much of an impact. While not a wholly unpleasant viewing experience, The Return isn’t a film that will stick with audiences, or stick around in theaters for long. But then, as far as Gellar’s continuing film career is concerned, that may be a good thing.