The Return (2003) - Plot Summary Poster



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  • In the Russian wilderness, two brothers face a range of new, conflicting emotions when their father - a man they know only through a single photograph - resurfaces.

  • The events of the film unfold over six days and tell about the mysterious journey of a strange man and his two teenage sons who had never seen him before. Vanya and Andrey, for how long they remember, lived with their mother, who once told them that their father was a pilot. But one ordinary Monday, dad appears in their house and takes the brothers on a hike to a small island in the middle of a forest lake.

  • Two teenage Russian boys have their father return home suddenly after being absent for 12 years. The father takes the boys on a holiday to a remote island on a lake in the north of Russia that turns into a test of manhood of almost mythic proportions.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • In contemporary Russia young brothers Ivan and Andrey have grown a deep attachment to each other to make up for their fatherless childhood. Running home after a fight with neighborhood kids the boys are shocked to discover their father has returned after a twelve year absence. With their mother's uneasy blessing Ivan and Andrey set out on what they believe will be a fishing vacation with their taciturn father.

    Though at first ecstatic to be reunited with the father they've only known from a faded photograph, the boys strain under the weight of their dad's awkward and increasingly brutal efforts to make up for a missing decade of parental supervision. Ivan and Andrey find themselves alternately tested, scolded, scrutinized and ignored by their father through a changing series of encounters and hardships.

    As truck stops and cafés give way to rain-swept, primevally beautiful wildernesscoastline, Ivan's doubts about his father give way to open defiance. Andrey's powerful need to bond with a father he's never known begins, in turn, to distance him from Ivan.

    Ivan and his father's test of wills escalates into bitter hostility and sudden violence as the trio arrives at their mysterious island destination.

    The dubious sanctuary of a rickety light tower, the desperate reassurance of a stolen knife, the cryptic allure of a rusting strong box and the fleeting safety of a hastily patched boat give evidence to the ultimately tragic conclusion of Ivan and Andrey's harrowing father and son journey and the heartbreakingly transitory nature of their reunion.

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