Poetry Movie Review

Poetry Movie Review

Poetry Movie Review - Poetry Story, Movie Review, Cast And RatingWhen it comes to choosing between what’s morally right and what favors you better, which option would you choose? Would you choose the first one even if you know that would mean losing a loved one? Or would you choose the second option even though you know it would haunt your conscience for the rest of your life? That is what has been explored in ‘Poetry’, a soulful tale about self discovery and mental liberation.

Directed by South Korean director Lee Chang Dong, ‘Poetry’ premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 2010 and won the Best Screenplay Award at the same event. The film was released worldwide on January 28, 2011.

The movie centers around a humble and straightforward woman called Mija (Yun Jung-Hee) who has just come to terms with the fact that she is suffering from the intial stages of dementia, a condition which results in partial or complete memory loss.

Coming out of a clinic after undergoing a medical checkup one day, Mija and several onlookers are stunned to notice a dead body floating in the river nearby. A woman who is apparently the mother of the corpse cries in distress as the body is retrieved from the stream.

Upon investigation, it is learnt that the dead body is that of Agnes, a teenage girl who chose to end her life after being sexually assaulted (repeatedlty for several days) by a group of six boys at her school, most of them her classmates.

Mija who is witness to the proceedings is in for a shock when she realises that one of the rapists is her teenage grandson Jong Wook (Lee David) who commited the henious crime with his friends. Mija meets up with the fathers of the other boys to discuss the possibilities of a lesser punishment for the boys when Agnes’s mother theatens to go to court.

To her horror, the men do not want Agnes’s mother to press charges and decide to offer her an out of court financial settlement of 30 million Won. Disgusted at their male chauvinistic ways of handling the issue, Mija walks away.

There’s another reason for her decision to leave the meeting as well. As a part time maid (she aids a stroke patient) who practically lives on the subsidies provided by the government, Mija knows it would be practically impossible for her to raise her share of 5 million Won to protect her grandson from going to jail.

Caught in between the struggle to raise money in order to protect her grandson’s future and her conscience which urges her to turn him in, Mija is further disturbed by her inability to remember even simple thoughts and conversations as the disease inside her head erases her memory bit by bit.

Poetry Movie Review - Poetry Story, Movie Review, Cast And Rating

It is at this time that she stumbles upon a secret desire to write poetry. The wish to do so stems from her desperate attempts to learn a new form of communication that would help her reach out to others around her (people who think that she is nothing but a crazy old woman).

Mija knows that she has poetry in her veins but still wants to learn it properly, resulting in her joining a poetry class. And as her struggle increases, thanks to her memory which impedes her progress siginficantly, Mija begins to see the world as it really is!

Instead of the beautiful world she had adored so much, all Mija sees now is a sex-obsessed place filled with violence, hatred, selfishness, cruelty, money, power, corruption and plenty of egocentric males; trying to get what they want by any means possible. And this visualisation in turn enables Mija to come to terms with the violent nature of the crime commited by her grandson and his friends.

What clicks in ‘Poetry’ is the base plot itself which is unique and pretty complicated, while providing a beautiful insight into the male dominated world of today. The screenplay is absolutely brilliant and manages to keep your fixed to the proceedings on screen inspite of a slow paced narrative.

Poetry Movie Review - Poetry Story, Movie Review, Cast And Rating

The characters are natural in their performances and come off as normal people you can connect with almost instantly. Yun Jung-Hee is excellent as the aged Mija who finds solace in her poetic words and yet uses the same to strike back against a society that takes everything in it; including the women, for granted.

Lee David who plays Mija’s grandson Wook, looks and emotes just like any other deadbeat teenager who doesn’t pay attention to elderly advice, likes to do things and hang out with people he can connect with, and who does petty crimes just for the heck of it or for sadistic pleasures.

On the whole, ‘Poetry’ is as its name suggests a movie that speaks more in terms of emotions than action. Definitely a must watch for it’s motivational thoughts and revelations.

Director: Lee Chang Dong

Cast: Yun Jung-Hee and Lee David

Rating: 3.5/5

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