Chang Dong is so gracious with his characters and themes—he never judges them. Instead of doing another cynical criticism of religion, he gives us a jarring yet compassionate film that focuses on the ordinary non-saint person in the face of tragedy being seduced by the healing power of faith without even contemplating its overwhelming implications. Truly unforgettable.
Exhausting. This should be used in Christian circles - not to show the damnation of the faith, because it never goes down that rabbit hole; nor as propaganda, because the Church in many ways exacerbates Sin-ae's suffering. But that's why it should be seen. What Chang-dong Lee masterfully shows here is a damaged person's slow mutation of insufferable grief into pride, and the community's part to play in the matter.
The plot thickens unbearably slow - what seams at the beginning like an aleatoric picture show of what it's like to move to a small town motivates a huge set of emotions or confusion later on. Although the acting is excellent and touching it suffers from it's scarce reasoning. Yet the illustrated is brutal enough as it is and offers an intense experience.
This guy really never does miss. Korea's best Director and maybe the best handler of social drama in Cinema today. This picture is awe-inspiring and makes all the right moves in its depiction of the faulty nature of forgiveness in a world that isn't honest with itself
This is a very strong, Cassavetes-like tragicomic drama that takes it's cues from the emotional state of its main character rather than conventional plot structure. As a result, it's rather jagged, but always exciting and unpredictable. The tragic "climax" comes halfway through, transforming then into a black satire on religious belief and a statement on how private psychology is much stronger than any mass movement.
This might be one of the most gripping and heartbreaking stories ever told in a cinematic form. Lee Chang-dong brings us a masterful, depressing work of art, which is brought to life by Do-yeon Jeon's captivating performance as a widowed mother who is thrown into the darkness.