Review for movie, South Korea: A Girl At My Door ★★★★★
Cannes festival nominee A Girl at my Door is a dark, sensitive portrayal of the relationship between a woman and a young girl as they navigate life in a small town where violence is a constant presence.
"Sensitive portrait of human resilience in a context of violence"
Director July Jung made her feature debut with the film, which premiered at Cannes festival in the ‘Un Certain Regard’ category. Doon Bae (Cloud Atlas) is quietly powerful as Young-nam, a young police officer banished to a small fishing village for ‘misconduct’. She quickly encounters Dohee (Kim Sae Ron), the pathetic victim of years of abuse and mistreatment, and invites her into her home, in an attempt to protect Dohee from her violent family.
The film seems poised to cover territory we've seen before: its tropes of violent father and absent mother ring resonant with other coming-of-age dramas. But, in the sense of agency it brings to the young victim, the film gives something new – and nuanced – to its familiar subject matter. By posing questions about the nature of abuse, the film manages to steer clear of sensation or melodrama, challenging assumed conceptions of innocence and guilt.
Korean film drama: A Girl At My Door
Bae gives a magnificent performance as Young-nam, holding the film together with considered delicacy. The scenes between Bae and Ron are by far the most powerful, providing an uneasy portrait of a relationship that tests the boundaries between vulnerability and manipulation.
But whilst these nuances are well drawn, Song Sae Byuk's role as the abusive stepfather fails to convince. His clownish alcoholism verges on the ridiculous, lapsing into a caricature that fails to trigger either fear or sympathy. Similarly, the sub-plot of Indian migrant workers in the small village disrupts simple intimacy of the narrative.
In spite of its failings, however, A Girl At My Door is a perceptive, powerful film about human resilience in the context of violence that deserves to do well in its UK release.
UK release date: 18 September.Click here to watch A Girl At My Door official trailer.
|What||New Korean film 'A Girl At My Door' review|
|Where||Various Locations | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Leicester Square (underground)|
18 Sep 15 – 30 Nov 15, 12:00 PM – 12:00 AM
|Price||£ determined by cinema|
|Website||Click here to go to A Girl At My Door film website.|