Return to Zero
DVD cover
Directed bySean Hanish
Written bySean Hanish
Produced bySean Hanish
Paul Jaconi-Biery
StarringMinnie Driver
Paul Adelstein
Alfred Molina
Connie Nielsen
Andrea Anders
Kathy Baker
Sarah Jones
CinematographyHarris Charalambous
Edited byAnita Brandt-Burgoyne
Music byJames T. Sale
Cannonball Productions
Release date
  • March 8, 2014 (2014-03-08)
CountryUnited States

Return to Zero is a drama film written and directed by Sean Hanish and stars Minnie Driver, Paul Adelstein, Alfred Molina, Connie Nielsen, Andrea Anders, Kathy Baker, and Sarah Jones with Peter Jason. It was first shown at the Cinequest Film Festival on March 8, 2014, then had an international premiere on the Lifetime Network on May 17, 2014. It was the first Lifetime original to receive a simultaneous international release.[1]


Return to Zero is based on a true story in which a successful couple named Aaron and Maggie are expecting their first child, only to have their lives devastated when they learn that the child has died in the womb.[2][3] The film is based on the experiences of its writer, Sean Hanish, and his wife.[4] Driver and Adelstein co-wrote and performed the film's title song.[5]



Matt Roush of TV Guide called Return to Zero, "A delicately etched and intimately powerful portrait of grief and bitter loss. Return to Zero stars a fearless Minnie Driver and the ever-affable Paul Adelstein as a couple rocked to their emotional core by the loss of their unborn child, discovered to have died in the womb shortly before the delivery date. We follow them through the wrenching procedure and recovery process with a stark realism in which husband and wife are often seen at their worst, as their once-solid relationship frays when Maggie plummets into depression and neither seem able to say or do the right things to be able to heal and move on. Though sometimes hard to watch, Zero is a compelling and beautifully acted character study that will make you care as it dramatizes a domestic tragedy with a minimum of melodrama, so rare for TV and TV-movies."[6]

Robert Bianco of USA Today wrote, "Minnie Driver and Paul Adelstein give first-rate performances in this lovely, moving film about a couple whose marriage falters when their baby is stillborn… It's a subject worthy of education and one that seldom gets dealt with on television."[7]

Brian Lowry of Variety called Return to Zero "a painful portrait of devastating loss, pivoting on a performance by Minnie Driver that acutely captures those raw feelings." He also wrote, "Hanish deftly zeroes in on how all the preparation and enthusiasm surrounding a new baby magnifies the enormity of the parents’ pain here — as well as the different ways people cope, or don’t, with such events."[8]

Minnie Driver was nominated for the award for Best Actress in a Movie or Miniseries at the 4th Critics' Choice Television Awards[9] (the award was won by Jessica Lange for American Horror Story: Coven[10]) and for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie.[11]


During post-production, Hanish turned to Kickstarter to raise additional funds to cover music, post-production sound and color-correction. This crowdsourcing effort raised more than the requested amount.[12] Minnie Driver stated on the CBS Sunday Morning show (June 8, 2014) that more than 700 families of stillborn children contributed to the crowdsourcing. As the film is based on a true story, Hanish dedicated it to his own son, "in loving memory of Norbert Krekorian Hanish b. July 12, 2005", and listed the names of many other stillborn children.[citation needed]

Awards and nominations

Return To Zero was awarded the 2014 Satellite Award for Motion Picture Made for Television.[13] Writer/Director Sean Hanish was also nominated for a Writers Guild of America Award for his screenplay.[14] For her performance, Minnie Driver was a 2014 Emmy nominee for Outstanding Lead Actress In A Miniseries Or A Movie[15] and was also nominated for a 2014 Satellite Award.[13]

Year Award Category Recipient Result
2014 Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie Minnie Driver Nominated
2014 Critics' Choice Television Award Best Actress in a Movie/Miniseries Minnie Driver Nominated
2015 Satellite Award Best Miniseries or Television Film Return to Zero Won
2015 Writers Guild of America Awards Long Form Original Sean Hanish Nominated


  1. ^ "Lifetime Gives Global Launch for Telepic 'Return to Zero'", The Hollywood Reporter, March 17, 2014.
  2. ^ "Return To Zero". Retrieved 2014-04-29.
  3. ^ Donna Freydkin, "Minnie Driver will 'Zero' in on 'a hard story'", USA Today, May 11, 2014.
  4. ^ Victoria Ahearn, "Minnie Driver says stillbirth movie 'Return to Zero' is heartbreaking but needed", The Canadian Press in Times Colonist, May 15, 2014.
  5. ^ Andrea Morabito, "‘Return to Zero’ deals with taboo topic of stillbirth", New York Post, May 17, 2014.
  6. ^ Matt Roush
  7. ^ Robert Bianco, Weekend TV: "Return to Zero" May 16, 2014.
  8. ^ Brian Lowry, TV Review: ‘Return to Zero’, Variety, May 15, 2014.
  9. ^ Critics' Choice TV Awards 2014: And the nominees are..., Entertainment Weekly, May 28, 2014.
  10. ^ "Critics' Choice Television Awards 2014: Complete Winners List".
  11. ^ " Emmys 2014: List of nominees", Los Angeles Times, July 10, 2014.
  12. ^ ""Return to Zero" Starring Minnie Driver and Paul Adelstein".
  13. ^ a b "2016 Winners & Nominees | Categories | International Press Academy".
  14. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-09-01. Retrieved 2014-01-08.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  15. ^ "Nominees / Winners".