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Film / Return with Honor

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Return with Honor is a 2006 dramatic film directed by Michael Amundsen. It tells the story of LDS missionary Rowe McDonald, who gets into an accident just after he finishes his mission. He has a vision where he tells God he wants to teach the gospel to his mother Trish, and God tells him he has sixty days to do so. Believing he has sixty days to live, Rowe finds his mother is working at a bar and doesn't seem that interested in religion. His girlfriend doesn't seem to understand why he's in such a hurry to get married, though he does get some support from his friend Corbin. Rowe has to learn the true reason his life was spared before time runs out.


Return with Honor contains examples of:

  • The Big Damn Kiss: Rowe and Ally get one just before the credits.
  • Covers Always Lie: The film's tag-line is "Rowe McDonald has been given 60 days to finish his life," but this isn't true because of a Prophecy Twist.
  • Creator Cameo: Michael Amundsen, the film's director, plays God.
  • Disappeared Dad: Trish tells Rowe his dad died in 1984, but he learns that his dad is actually alive and living in St. Petersburg.
  • Elopement: Rowe discusses going to Las Vegas with Ally to get married civilly, who's put off by the suggestion since she wants to get married in the temple. During the credits, it's shown that they get married in the Las Vegas Temple.
  • Fake-Out Opening: The movie starts out with Rowe in a bar drinking what appears to be a beer, though it's later revealed to be apple juice.
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  • Flashback: Rowe gets one when he remembers the night he almost died, but it's shown in reverse. He then tells Corbin he realizes the reason he was actually allowed to live was to love his mother, not necessarily to convert her.
  • I Was Beaten by a Girl: Corbin says he got into a fight a long time ago with his little sister, who kicked the crap out of him.
  • The Missionary: Sister Wireton and Sister Carter are the missionaries who are supposed to teach Trish, though she already believes in the LDS Church.
  • Near-Death Experience: Rowe gets into a car accident and God tells him he has 60 days to teach the gospel to his mother and "then greater things are planned for thee."
  • Not What It Looks Like: Rowe smells like beer and cigarettes. He tries to explain to Ally that he was at the bar where his mother works, and some guys tried to make him drink. She runs away before he can finish.
  • Prophecy Twist: During Rowe's Near-Death Experience, God tells him he has 60 days to teach the gospel to his mother. Rowe interprets this to mean he has 60 days to live, but it turns out that it's his mother who'll die in that time.
  • Tattoo as Character Type: Corbin has a tattoo on his head to show his rock band lifestyle and his rebellion against church culture in deciding not to serve a mission.
  • Time Lapse:
    • This type of shot is used to show Rowe waiting outside the bar for his mom.
    • Another one is used near the end of the movie with the sunset.
  • Time Passes Montage: One is played to show time passing as it seems like Trish isn't going to get baptized, with Rowe crossing off dates on his calendar.
  • Title Theme Tune: The song "Return with Honor" by Chris Merritt is played during the closing credits.
  • Toxic Friend Influence: Subverted with Corbin, who originally planned on going on a mission like Rowe, but became less active in the church. However, he's actually a good friend to Rowe.
  • Your Days Are Numbered: Rowe believes that God has told him that he has 60 days to live and teach the gospel to his mother, but because of a Prophecy Twist it's actually his mother who has 60 days to live.