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Instead, I found myself sobbing through a good third of the movie. When I wasn't crying because of the heart-wrenching tragedy of the thing, I was overwhelmed by its honest beauty and realistic portrayal of human goodness. So much of the best and worst of human nature is captured in this movie, and balanced so perfectly from one scene to the next -- without mood music or melodrama or unpleasant plot contrivances -- that I'm tempted to offer up Poetry as the best film portrait of humanity I have ever seen. This is one of those rare works of realist cinema that gives viewers not just a startling insight into the difficulties of human nature (e.g. Cries and Whispers), or a heart-wrenching invitation to social consciousness (Umberto D), but also a vision of human joy and natural beauty that, because of its modest particularity and ordinariness, is sufficient to counterbalance the other darker truths and give us a reprieve from our grief. If ever a film attested to the grace present in creation which allows goodness to survive through evil, this was it. Watch it. You won't be disappointed.
I have watched and read a few Korean films and books whose central character is an older female (notably, "Mother," a film directed by Joon-ho Bong, and the book "Please Look After Mom" by Kyung-sook Shin). There seems to be a reverence and a respect for older women in the Korean culture that is reflected in its art. By contrast, there is a shortage of Hollywood films that feature an older woman as the central lead. (Could this be because of a lack of appreciation for older women in the Western culture? Yes, I believe so.) If there were adventurous Hollywood producers, they can attempt to remake this into an English language film. Of course, the quietness of this film and the emotions behind it may not translate well into a Hollywood feature.
But this is truly one of the best films ever made.
I picked the movie based on its case synopsis but knew to expect more because of where it was filmed. My introduction to South Korean cinema was Taegukgi and I was blown away. Since then, I've kept the country on my radar and have not once been disappointed in their efforts. Now I'm at the point where I prefer South Korean movies and when I found Poetry, it was an easy decision. Once again, I was rewarded for my favoritism.
Poetry is a beautiful and disturbing film. At the risk of exposing the plot, I'll refrain from specifics, but it makes this review difficult to write. There aren't any major twists to give away but there are turns to take and I don't want to ruin them. There is a suicide that involves Mija directly and the effect on her is profound. What I most love about Korean films is the realism. Even while their plots rotate around a ravaging sea monster, they still bring a brilliant believability out of their characters. Poetry delivers this legitimacy also and it was a treat to be involved. It felt real.
I think the only problem I had with the film was its length. This particular poem weighs in at just under 140 minutes dropping it in the, "epic" world where haikus have to attack in packs. But this isn't a huge problem as it seemed to go by fairly quickly. It's my opinion that the film could have taken a bit more editing to keep it around two hours, but that's just me and I'm no filmmaker. So what do I know? It's something to keep in mind, though, especially if you're a quick-fix type moviegoer.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Lovely film. I seldom buy movies but this is a classic that I want to own.Published 2 months ago by Anne-Reet Ilves Annunziata
I didn't get to watch all of this because the sound wouldn't work. But from what I saw, and what the critics say, it looks great. Wish I hadn't wasted my rental fee though.Published 4 months ago by S. O Rooney
Not to missed. Subtle. Touching. Thoughtful. A special must see for poets and poetry lovers.Published 5 months ago by Jamie Dedes
How does a grandmother react when the grandson she is raising is involved in a terrible wrong? Poetry is a beautifully complex film, not only about the poetry of life but a piece... Read morePublished 9 months ago by dmcb
This is one of my all-time most favorite movies. It's the story of a grandmother whose teen-aged grandson lives with her, and he is spoiled, sullen, and worse. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Lenora G.
A very "poetic" story that is very emotional to unfold. It is one of the hidden gems of movies over the last few years.Published 10 months ago by CBras
The movie was hard for me to understand at times, due to the subtitles, and the way it ended. Overall, the movie was okay with some really good nature shots.Published 11 months ago by Trina Henderson