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Movie Review: Mother (Madeo)

Alternate Title: What She Did for Love

Story: The time is now. The place is a small town in South Korea. The story details a mother's undying love for her son that is instinctual, unconditional, and forever. Do not think for a moment that this film would appear on some sappy Lifetime TV mother/child theme movie marathon. This mother is focused like a laser on protecting her mentally challenged 27 year old son who has been accused of murdering a local high school girl. Brilliantly directed by South Korean Bong Joon-ho and written by Park Eun-kyo and Mr. Bong and based on a story by Bong Joon-ho.

This Mother does not need a name in the film. She represents all Mothers who will stop at nothing to protect their children. When the system, including the police and lawyers fail Mother in her quest to prove her son's innocence she decides to investigate and bring to justice the real killer herself. The director cleverly introduces some comical scenes to break the building tension of Mother's pursuit. He also throws in a few jaw dropping surprises that my new movie buddy and I did not see coming.

This film has just about everything you might want from a foreign film. It has cultural surprises, easy to read subtitles, fresh new scenery, interesting music, universal characters, a terrific story and amazing acting.

I urge you to find this film in your local theaters or rent it now. Pay attention - drifting is not a good idea.

Watch the trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KPcijFQ4PpU

Acting: Kim Hye-ja as the Mother is nothing short of sensational. Won Bin as the son, Yoon Do-joon is very believable.Jin Goo as Jin-tae is terrific as is the rest of the cast including: Yoon Jae-moon (Je-mun), Jun Mi-sun (Mi-sun), Song Sae-beauk (Sepaktakraw Detective) and Moon Hee-ra (Moon Ah-jung).

Trivia: Director Bong Joon-ho's film The Host was seen by a record ten million people in his country and was well received by the Cannes Festival. Mother was nominated for a 2010 Indie Spirit Awards for Best Foreign Film. Other nominations and awards include: 2009 Dubai International Film Festival, Best Screenplay Award for Mother. 2009 Mar del Plata Film Festival (Argentina), SIGNIS Award for Mother. 2009 China Golden Rooster and Hundred Flowers Film Festival, Best Actress to Kim Hae-ja for Mother.
2009 Asia Pacific Screen Awards, Best Actress to Kim Hae-ja for Mother.
2010 Academy Awards, Mother selected as Korea's official entry for Best Foreign Language Film category.

Predilection: I like to see award nominated films.

Critters: Critter sounds, but no actual appearances.

Food: Chicken and a delicious looking fish filled buffet.

Sex Spectrum: Sex is an underlying premise in the murder of the local girl and there is a sex scene that Mother watches as she hides in a closet in pursuit of the killer.

Blatant Product Placement: None

Soundtrack: Interestingly appropriate.

Opening Titles: Titles superimposed over a lovely shot of Mother dancing in a field.

Visual Art: Excellent attention to both detail and the long view.

Theater Audience: Two other people and us.

Weather: It was very rainy in South Korea.

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: 0

Squirm Scale: 1

Drift Factor: I did not drift at all.

Predictability Level: Low - We were surprised.

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: Mother selected as Korea's official entry for Best Foreign Language Film category.

Big Screen or Rental: Go for the big screen if possible.

Length: Two hours