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Mother (2009)

Hye-ja Kim , Bin Won , Bong Joon-Ho  |  R |  DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Hye-ja Kim, Bin Won
  • Directors: Bong Joon-Ho
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: Korean
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Magnolia Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: July 20, 2010
  • Run Time: 129 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B003JDQJM8
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #98,593 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Mother" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Just as South Korean director Bong Joon-ho's previous film, The Host, subverted the traditions of the giant monster movie to examine the effects of a crisis on a unique family, his latest effort, Mother, embraces the tropes of the murder mystery for an unsettling and affecting story of parental love taken to its extreme. Popular South Korean television actress Kim Hye-ja gives a powerful performance as a downtrodden acupuncturist whose mentally challenged son (Korean A-lister Won Bin) is accused of murdering a local schoolgirl. Bullied into a confession by the local police (led by Yoon Je-moon of The Host), the young man faces incarceration at a mental hospital unless his mother can discover the killer's true identity. Her inquiry leads her into classic noir territory, with perceived truths blown apart at every turn; in typical Joon-ho fashion, these discoveries are marked by moments of shocking violence, dark slapstick humor, and moving familial drama, which come together in a genuinely unique perspective on the nature of truth and commitment. The official South Korean submission for Best Foreign Language Film at the 82nd Academy Awards, Mother is yet another entry on a growing list of exceptional motion pictures from one of the international scene's most intriguing filmmakers. --Paul Gaita

Product Description

Mother is a devoted single parent to her simple-minded twenty-seven-year-old son, Do-joon. Often a source of anxiety to his mother, Do-joon behaves in foolish or simply dangerous ways. One night, while walking home drunk, he encounters a schoolgirl who he follows for a while before she disappears into a dark alley. The next morning, she is found dead in an abandoned building and Do-joon is accused of her murder. An inefficient lawyer and an apathetic police force result in a speedy conviction. His mother refuses to believe her beloved son is guilty and immediately undertakes her own investigation to find the girl's killer. In her obsessive quest to clear her son's name, Mother steps into a world of unimaginable chaos and shocking revelations.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
45 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mommy dearest... July 27, 2010
While it took a while for me to really get into this film, I must say that it is still lingering in the back of my mind. This is a hard one to shake, and that is due in large part to a fascinating performance by Hye-ja Kim (think Imelda Staunton in `Vera Drake' without the happy-go-lucky overtones).

The film circles around an elderly woman's search for the truth regarding a murder that places her mentally challenged son in prison. Call it being at the wrong place at the wrong time (supposedly), but Yoon Do-joon finds himself behind bars when a young girl named Moon Ah-jung winds up dead and prostrated on a rooftop for the whole town to see. Do-joon's mother is convinced of his innocence (he couldn't even hurt a water bug) but circumstantial evidence places him at the scene of the crime and thus leaves her with only one option; investigate herself. Scrounging up the truth is a difficult task, and it may lead to answers she isn't ready to stomach, but it is something she needs to do, for herself and for her son.

I'm a really big fan of the film noir and so the tones taken in this film, especially the second half, really appeal to me. The darkness that encroaches on the films plot really flourish as the film progresses, and the conclusion is an emotional gut-punch of a very subtle kind, which I admire, appreciate and respect.

I don't really want to give too much of the films eventualities away, even though the discussion of the mother's motives and actions is eminent. Watching this film is a moral conundrum, and that is something that begs to be analyzed. What I will say though, is that the final moment, on the bus, is probably the most poignant in the entirety of the film for it really nails the mother's moral coffin so-to-speak.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
When her mentally challenged son is charged with a brutal murder, his mother sets out to prove him innocent. When the ordinary channels fail her, she increasingly takes things into her own hands, and is not afraid to get those hands dirty.

While there are scores of films about fathers out to protect and avenge their children who have been victims of a crime, this is the first that I'm aware of in which it is the mother who is out to defend the accused. It is a rich and inventive and, also, dark story, beautifully filmed and directed with subtlety, that offers a fresh look at the police procedural film.

This offbeat new thriller is sustained by a remarkable performance on the part of the leading lady (Hye Ja Kim as "The Mother"); all the other performances are strong, but the at once resolute and unhinged performance of the mother is something I couldn't take my eyes off, from the opening scene where she wanders through a field towards the camera, solemn and serious and suddenly breaks into a dance, to the magical ending on a bus. As with his previous films, Bong Joon Ho manages to convey memories and subjective point of view with a great deal of subtlety, in simple but inventive ways (such as a quick pan to someone who isn't there in the current scene but is being remembered from before). Highly recommended for lovers of inventive cinema, that explores the boundaries of genre in intriguing ways.

The dvd includes a fascinating documentary about the making of "Mother," which offers not only an intriguing look at director Bong Joon Ho in action, but especially emphasizes the importance of mothers in Korean society.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love to the extreme August 12, 2010
When you think of the word mother, it resonates warmth, love, nuturing; and to some, it has a different connotation. As mothers, we often talk about doing anything for our children, not knowing how far will we really go. This is the theme here, a mother's love for her son, a mother must prove the capability of her son when taken advantage of, when the law is too distant to care.

Generally, directors have in mind who they want to play a role, but in this case, Director Bong Joon-hoo knew the actress and was determined to make a move specially for her. He was also inspired to do this movie from a TV episode that was based on a true story of how a mother, to the ultimate extreme, defended her elderly son. You can learn about that in the wonderful DVD features, the making of the movie, and the insightful cinematography methods. The musical score was limited, but in the features, you will learn the thought process by a musical director and how he builds a score on words from the movie.

The story takes place in present time, in a village in South Korea, where a mentally challenged young man Do-Joon (Won Bin) has been accused of a murder of a young girl. Mother and son share the same bed, on the floor, which indicates she never let him grow up for independence. Mother is an acupuncturist without the proper licensing. With mother's (Kim Hye-Ja) instinct in full gear, she is adamant her son is innocent. After a failed attempt with a worthless lawyer, she sets out to prove his innocence.

There is a lot happening in this film, over 2 hours, and the viewer is anxiously waiting to see how she will proceed with her investigation. Just to see the actress' in her closeups is amazing; you can just read the fear, anger, anticipation, horror in her face.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 25 days ago by Daniel Whitehead
4.0 out of 5 stars Highly intense and quirky like The Coen brothers had made this movie
Certainly not your conventional tale of devotion and uncovering the truth. But highly intense and quirky like The Coen brothers had made this movie. Read more
Published 27 days ago by John Westwood
5.0 out of 5 stars Mother, Unstoppable
This is an amazing film. A Korean film, with English subtitles, it is a murder mystery, with an amazing actress, Kim Hye-ja playing the title character with a force and... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Tim Frisk
5.0 out of 5 stars subtitles, but sucks you in before you can turn to one that's not!!!
If you can handle reading subtitled... I thought this was a great movie about a mother who really tried to be the best mother!
Published 1 month ago by E. Brown
4.0 out of 5 stars Exceptional on all accounts
Bong is one of, if not my favorite Korean filmmaker and Mother, which sits in a strange place between The Host and Snowpiercer, which is an incredible cinematic feast, is a... Read more
Published 1 month ago by S. Holt
4.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as The Host or The Snowpiercer but still a ...
Interesting but not shocking. I was surprised there wasn't more of Joon-ho Bong's trademark intensity coupled with interspersed moments of obvious comic levity. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Cocokid
5.0 out of 5 stars Worthwhile film, Amazing lead performance
Wow, interesting movie, amazing lead performance. Written, directed and filmed in a very unique way. Definitely good payback on your two hour investment!
Published 2 months ago by R. pachon
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
fantastic film
Published 2 months ago by jim miller
2.0 out of 5 stars This is a crazy movie!!
I would not buy this movie if it was $1.00. In my opinion, a real mother would do the right thing whether its her son or not. Read more
Published 3 months ago by berdina wright
3.0 out of 5 stars Great acting, story a bit cliche
I really enjoyed this movie, 3 stars doesn't mean it's bad, just means it didn't blow me away. The lead female actor is a famous actor in Korea, and is well known due to her... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Guy
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