Kim Ji–young, Born 1982 (82년생김지영) – We did a short writeup on this movie, and shared some synopsis on the movie plot and the controversies that made this movie gain quite a bit of traction in South Korea. We were fortunate to be one of the first people in Singapore to get to catch this movie at a preview screening, held at Golden Village Cinemas (Suntec City). I enjoyed the movie so much that resulted in this movie review for Kim Ji-young, Born 1982.
Instead of referring the movie as feminist, which was the term used to describe the novel this movie was based on, I will rather describe it as an immensely realistic depiction on social inequality. I always appreciate movies with a good plot, since we were often rating movies based on the amount of intense action scenes. It was an emotional roller-coaster from the start, where we enjoyed the joy from a young family with a newborn, to the gradual exposure of challenges faced by such a young family with a young baby in tow.
The biased would focus on how the female lead Kim Ji-young (played by Jung Yumi) was subjected to the traditional masculist culture of the country. In South Korea, the father reigns as the head of the family, and males in the family, especially the father and eldest son, receive an abundance of respect. The role of the wife of an eldest son is to take care of her husband’s aging parents. The plot focuses on Kim’s struggle in manoeuvring the changing social norms, both as a mother, a wife, a daughter-in-law, and an educated woman with her own aspirations.
However, the movie also showcased the equal struggles of the male lead Dae-hyeon (played by Gong Yoo), who played a typical “sandwiched” role between her wife and family, contributing financially and supporting his wife’s physical and emotional needs. Dae-hyeon definitely deserves some credits for the role he played in this movie.
That is not all, the immense amount (and varsity opposing types) of kinship showcased by both leads’ families can be described as the coriander with your Hainanese chicken rice (ok maybe not that great an example since not everyone likes coriander), or the garlic used to cook your agile olio. It wouldn’t taste quite like what it was supposed to without those.
We are not going to leak too much about the movie, but if you enjoy a movie with great depth and intense emotions, I think this is the movie for you. As a man myself, I would think the negative attention on this movie seems a little uncalled for, and probably result of people being too stressed. So guys out there, take a chill pill and grab a drink after work, and be like Dae-hyeon.
Kim Ji-young, Born 1982 screens in Singapore cinemas from 14 November 2019.