A strange country, yet it feels like coming home. On her first visit to South Korea since her adoption in Denmark, thirty-something Karoline discovers she is not the only one who wants to know where her roots are. In The Return, she is supported by fellow adoptees from Europe and the United States who, just like her, are trying to fill the black holes of their childhood. Chastening for some, frustrating for others. Karoline is in the latter camp. She knows where she was born and has a name, but more is needed to find her birth mother.
Malene Choi Jensen based her film on her own experience, portraying it so naturally that her feature debut could almost be a full-blooded documentary. Amidst editing that is occasionally abrupt, the long scenes with open-hearted conversations stand out. An emotional high point is a tender, cautious reunion between a mother and son, with Karoline as silent witness. The painful desperation about identity is casually caught in evasive glances.