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Return to Innocence
Return to Innocence
Actors: Richard Meese, Andrew Martin, Steve DeForest, Lou Franson, Shawn Berry
Director: Rocky Costanzo
Genres: Drama, Mystery & Suspense
UR     2007     1hr 38min

Studio: Repnet Llc Release Date: 02/26/2008


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Movie Details

Actors: Richard Meese, Andrew Martin, Steve DeForest, Lou Franson, Shawn Berry
Director: Rocky Costanzo
Genres: Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: LifeLine Entertainment, Inc.
Format: DVD - Black and White,Widescreen
DVD Release Date: 11/13/2007
Release Year: 2007
Run Time: 1hr 38min
Screens: Black and White,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 2
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: English
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Movie Reviews

Wonderful indie film by a new director, recommended!
jonathon66 | Michigan | 06/17/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)

"The DVD/movie is about the fictional story of Tommy Jackson, a physically, emotionally, and sexually abused 13-year-old boy; the story was actually adapted from a novel. However, the movie feels real and is primarily about a sexual abuse case. The film is moving right from the opening scene, where the FBI arrests the boy's mother for making pronographic videos of him and selling them on the internet, as he stands in a room with a camera, clad in only boxer shorts--a very haunting scene. The rest of the film focuses on his relationships with two therapists in his new home, a treatment center, called New Horizons. However, the nature of Tommy's relationship with his counselor develops into a crossing of boundries that is exposed by the other therapist. But Tommy although seemingly confused and hurt by the events, will defend and even strike back to preserve their relationship, "keeping the secret." He pushes it all the way, resulting in a dramatic court case that examines the issue of sexual abuse from the angle of a professional on the subject, but with a twist, and who is defending his freedom and career.
At first, I wondered why the director chose a black and white medium, but then it became clear. This media added intensity to the film, or in the director's words, was used to make the film appear timeless, that is appropriate to any time period. The film is almost done documentary style with a voice over given by the lead character, played by Richard Meese, whose whole presence and voice are perfect for this role. Tommy, played by Andrew Martin, gives a very gifted performance for his age, 14, and due to the subject manner. The only acting perhaps could be improved upon was near the opening where a group of kids fronm the center are standing around talking. Their dialogue sounds as if they are merely line reading from a card, and doesn't sound natural. Of course these weren't real actors but kids the director asked to be in the film that were playing near by at the time of filming. Note this is not a violent or pronographic film and contains no nudity, sexual activites, etc. or even much profanity (it was unrated, just to clear all of this up but not because it contained all of these things) Although eventually by some, this film may be pigeon- holed as a "gay interest" film, but that would be misleading even inspite of the one apparently gay character protrayed (though under very negative circumstances this characte is, but yet only a character) in the film and the subject material of sexual abuse and relations between adults and minors. Both of the therapists Tommy are involved with are married men with children. (Not exactly the dirty old man molesting young boy theme here.) Rather, the film as does the character looks to examine loving relationships between men and boys, in a truly caring way, not the NAMBLA way.
Anyhow, I would especially recommend this film to those who work with abused children and mental health/health care professionals. Having worked in this area, I thought this film was a good protrayal of a kid with these issues and behavior. Really, this film could be enjoyed by many people and therapeutic even to a mature audience, or those dealing with these issues. The film is very emotional and uplifting and provides some closure and resolution, all good elements in a film and therapy. The only thing is the film did focus more on the adults in the situation, rather than Tommy, but that's the context of the story. It does not dwell on or dive into great detail of Tommy's previous or even current experience of "abuse" but nevertheless, the viewer sees Tommy's emotional resolutions in the course of the film. Go out of your way to see this film and you may have to as it isn't in theatres, on tv, or available everywhere--but worth watching."
Small Movie, Big Topic
Amos Lassen | Little Rock, Arkansas | 03/06/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

""Return to Innocence"

Small Movie, Big Topic

Amos Lassen

"Return to Innocence" is a small film about a very serious problem, child abuse. It is filmed from the point of view of its main character, Tommy Jackson (Andrew Martin) and tells of a misguided youth growing up in a youth shelter. Glen Erskine (Richard Meese) is director and chief of New Horizons, a counseling center for abused boys. He is a child psychologist with an international reputation and impeccable credentials. Tommy Riley, on the otter hand is a victim of emotional, physical and sexual abuse since he was an infant. He is taken into custody by the Department of Social Services and placed at New Horizons after his mother is arrested for making and selling pornographic videos of him and selling them on the internet. While at New Horizons it seems that his life is finally coming together until it is discovered that he is having an intimate affair with one of his counselors. He strikes back at the man he believes is responsible for having his relationship destroyed--Glen Erskine. This sets the stage for a very dark and disturbing story of commitment and love, betrayal and forgiveness and redemption as well as an in depth look at the agendas and processes which are involved in prosecuting a case of child abuse.
The movie looks and plays like a documentary but it is the performances that make this movie more than just another look at child abuse. However the movie does not answer the most urgent question that that it raises--is a sexual relationship between a boy and an adult always considered molestation and abuse and does it lead to negative effects on the boy? Is there really a difference between sexual predators and men who love boys? The audience is left to make this decision if they can consider it objectively. Glen Erskine embodies a devotion and a passion--he loves his boys and they, likewise, love him. Even without answering these questions, the movie has brought these issue to the fore and has dared to go where others have not. The topic of age of consent is one of the most complex in society. It depends on maturity, beliefs and backgrounds. The movie will not only blow you away, it will make you think
Return To Innocence
Dennis S. Johnson | 12/29/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)

""Return To Innocence" is a low-budget, black and white, independent feature focusing on a very provacative subject: sexual child abuse. Despite the boy in the bed on the DVD box cover, the film is not exploitative or sensational. It deals with the exlposive subject with care and understanding, not only for the characters, whose story it tells, but the young actors asked to portray the victim(s). It's a bit talky at times, almost more court-room drama than anything else, but a compelling drama overall. This is the kind low-budget movie and raw, provacative story that rarely makes it to theaters, so it is pretty courageous for the writer, producer, director to have made the movie in the first place, and then to have released it (many years after it was finished) on DVD. It is certainly worth finding and watching. I congratulate the actors and all the production people for their talent and their effort."
An example of independent cinema at its best
Sarah Bensman | Henderson, NV USA | 01/01/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Based on the subdued novel, which is a very good read, Return to Innocence tackles the issue of an alleged sexual abuse on a minor, with the unique spin of placing the man in the position of victim and the boy as aggressor. You really get a sense of the danger the man is in and you find yourself pulling for him during the trial. Richard Meese (the man) nails the sympathetic male role to perfection, while Andrew Martin (the boy) does a very convincing job at making you love and hate him at the same time. This film is not for everyone, but those of us who work amongst children as I do (teacher) will find this little film to be an educational tool in addition to its entertainment value. It is a well-crafted movie, and a true example of independent cinema at its best. ."