The movie starts off slowly and progresses in much the same manner. Patience will be rewarded. The heartbreaking realization that life is repeating itself from mother (who is no more than a child herself) to son (who is forced to be more of an adult than he should be too soon) in an unbreakable cycle, is all too evident and all too depressing, particularly to those of us who see it in our daily lives in our own family, friends,or workplace. It's a theme pretty universal without much differentiation from country to country. It can make watching a movie like this even more difficult, but the performances, especially by Seo Young Joo, are their own reward. There are many reviews online that are better than anything I could write. There are scenes which touched me...One: at night in the reformatory a boy asks to be told a funny story and another boy relates a short anecdote about fish cakes which sends them into fits of giggles. Young men who, in all likelihood, never had a parent or grandparent to read them bedtime stories. My heart clenched as I remember the joy of sharing those moments with my own son and the wonderful memories both he and I carry of those times. At all times while watching this movie I could not stop thinking how different could some of their lives have been if they had just one person who loved them unconditionally and completely. It's true there are those who are true sociopaths without empathy or any ability to understand right and wrong. But this movie shows the sad reality of societal and family breakdowns and the repercussions on the children as a result. It's a theme the director and writer portray beautifully. There is also the scene by the river where the mom promises her son she will not abandon him again, and the heart wrenching look on his face as he listens. What is he thinking? That nothing she says can be believed because she is a chronic liar and user whose own life is completely out of control? The sad understanding that, no matter how much he is wishing for it, she will never, despite her fantasies, be a real mother to him and he will spend his entire life being either another caregiver to her or being betrayed? It's a look full of pain and disillusionment and hopelessness. The ending pretty much matched the tone of the entire movie and is very fitting with the message the director and writer are trying to tell. No easy answers. Nothing tied up in a pretty pink bow. Is there any hope on the horizon for either of them or that poor little girlfriend of his? What happened to them? I think there are thousands and thousands of children out there you can ask that question about and it absolutely breaks my heart that, while there are lots of answers, there is never any real solution. I paid no attention to the music. I would not rewatch it purely because my heart can only take so much angst. I HIGHLY recommend it. As a person who gets way too emotionally involved in her movies and dramas, you can tell I'm not very objective. If you can watch this from the perspective that it is a beautiful piece of work that succeeds mightily in telling its story, you will be glad you shared in the experience.
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