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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deeply moving, one of the best films ever made
Poetry is probably one of the most thoughtful, thought-provoking, and touching films I have ever seen. The story centers around a 60-something grandmother who is showing early signs of Alzheimer's and her desire to learn to write poetry. Intertwined with this is a suicide of a middle-school girl, a horrific discovery that involves the grandmother's ungrateful (but...
Published on January 31, 2012 by M. Sue

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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars CHANG-DONG LEE, OPUS 5
Moving description of the collision between Poetry and the crudeness of Reality. Poetry is a film about oblivion. Alzheimer disease, the behaviour of the son, the pitiless negotiations of the young criminals' parents make us think about the difference between the real world and its way to forget such notions as Respect, Responsibility and Love and, on the other hand, the...
Published on November 25, 2011 by Daniel S.


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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deeply moving, one of the best films ever made, January 31, 2012
By 
M. Sue (New York, NY) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Poetry (DVD)
Poetry is probably one of the most thoughtful, thought-provoking, and touching films I have ever seen. The story centers around a 60-something grandmother who is showing early signs of Alzheimer's and her desire to learn to write poetry. Intertwined with this is a suicide of a middle-school girl, a horrific discovery that involves the grandmother's ungrateful (but realistically portrayed) grandson with whom she lives, and subsequent attempts by other men involved to cover up the truth. As she tries to protect her undeserving grandson, she also happens to be the only person who feels the burden of the crime committed. The ending is just so wistful and perfectly executed, with the recital of the one poem that she writes.

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.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars POETRY is seeing and feeling, December 27, 2011
By 
Ray Andrews (Wallingford, PA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Poetry (DVD)
POETRY tells a simple tale of an elderly woman who is diagnosed with early Alzheimer and encouraged to keep an active mind. She enrolls in a poetry class to learn that poetry is our ability to see what is truly before our eyes and our emotional impressions expressed in words. She works part-time assisting a man recovering from a stroke and looks after her grandson who treats her like a hired hand. At the start of the film, a female teenager is seen floating face down. An apparent suicide, she had been the victim of repeated gang rapes. The grandmother becomes aware of the crime, investigates the scene, attends the service but flees. Will she report this or share with other fathers of the boys involved with monetary payoffs to the poor mother? I will not reveal more of this absolutely mesmerizing film. It is long but totally engrossing. We want justice for this horrific abuse. We, as viewers, have witnessed what immoral behavior people will resort to with hope of burying the truth. Not since Li Shaohong's film, A STOLEN LIFE, has an ending been so painfully moving. This film will become a classic. People will always die but not poetry. It is the inescapable impression of our very existence.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Stanza quest., December 7, 2011
This review is from: Poetry (DVD)
Poetry is a 2010 South Korean film directed by Lee Chang-dong. It stars Yoon Jeong-hee as Mija, a woman in her 60's raising a derelict grandson while dealing with the onset of Alzheimer's Disease.

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. If anything, you should still grab this and make it a two-nighter.

I strongly recommend adding this to your library. If foreign films make the world go round, this one is pushing hard.

Thank you for your time.

- t
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BEST FEMALE PERFORMANCE EVER SEEN IN 60 YEARS OF CINEMAGOING, December 2, 2011
By 
Peter M "cinerama" (Sydney, NSW Australia) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Poetry [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
One of the best films I have ever seen .South Korea has produced some of the world's most brilliant films in recent years and POETRY ranks as the best . Yung Jung-Hee's performance is so mesmerizing that you cannot take your eyes of the screen for a second.There isn't a dull moment in the film's 139 minutes and the finale is unforgettable. One will think of this beautifully haunting film long after it has ended.Only one film in ten thousand has the ability to do this.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Soul Massaging, February 15, 2012
This review is from: Poetry (DVD)
This movie is about many things. It is about art, how the arts make us see something sublime through the dreariness in our daily life. It is about how arts make we bond and feel for each other. It raises the issue of morality, should the adults use this temporarily least damaging solution, disregards any principles? It can also raises the issues of the situation of kids, some kids' lives are composed of working for exam scores for school and video game for leisure. Could they become people with no compassion and no sense of morality?

I am especially impressed by the style of this movie. I read that the director used to a novelist. You can feel the director observed and narrated the story with the eyes of a novelist. The story is gripping, beautifully told but the director never artificially inflated it, which is very refreshing. I feel my soul is massaged by watching this movie.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So Beautiful yet So Painful - It Truly is Poetry in Motion, January 29, 2013
This review is from: Poetry (DVD)
Poetry tells the story of Yang Mija, a 66 year old woman suffering from Alzheimer's disease while caring for her self-centered and often disrespectful grandson. She eventually enrolls in a poetry class, which influences her views on life and her surroundings as she closely inspects and questions everything. The story is much, much deeper than that, but it's better to watch than to read. Poetry is so beautiful yet so painful to watch, it truly is poetry in motion.

The story in Poetry is amazing because it can evoke so many emotions with authentic dialogue and imagery; it doesn't need sad or overdramatic music to make you emotional. There are scenes that will make you angry, sad, shake your head in disgust, and even scenes that will make you laugh; the connection you feel with the characters is real, and you've probably witness some of these scenes in your life. For example, the grandson, Jongwook (Lee Da-wit), consistently disrespects and hurts his grandmother with his uncaring and irresponsible actions and you can feel it. The story can really make you contemplate about life, and several scenes, including the ending, can be interpreted differently. Yoon Jeong-hee did a wonderful job as Yang Mija, her performance was authentic and powerful. It's a little long, but definitely worth watching.

Overall, Poetry is an amazing, though-provoking film. It's genuinely emotional, and can affect the audience in many ways. As of 12/22/12, this film is available on Netflix Streaming, but a purchase is highly recommended.

Poetry has some violence, and a brief sex scene (no nudity).
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5.0 out of 5 stars lyrical, February 17, 2014
This review is from: Poetry [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
The movie starts slowly and I was bored in the beginning but the story builds up and it’s a really beautiful work. This Korean movie has a different perspective than American works and the director uses long scenes that has little action but evokes a lot of emotion. It takes getting use to and some may find it boring but it really is a little gem. I can’t get over how it’s staying with me.

Story is pretty simple, a grandmother in her 60s is forgetting words. She goes to the doctors and along the way sees a young girl at the hospital that committed suicide in the river. The doctor runs tests for her and she decides to improve herself by taking a poetry class at an adult ed.

She finds out that her grandson and five other boys raped the girl for six months and that’s why she committed suicide. The school wants to keep it hushed and the six boy’s families need to raise 25k each to try to settle with the mother and protect the boys. The woman is poor, she is living on government subsidies and works for an old man as a housekeeper. Her daughter lives in a different city and she doesn’t want to tell her the news.

The rape isn’t the center of the story. It’s about this woman’s journey: trying to understand what beauty is and how to write a poem. She’s slightly ditzy and a bit preoccupied and entirely naive. Most of the time she doesn’t think about the horrendous actions of her grandson because anything that she’s doing: her work, a brisk walk, chatting with a neighbor, occupies her completely.

The old man that she works for attempts to put the moves on her and she refuses. Later on she does sleep with him and bribes him for the 25k. She continues to go to poetry class and listen to poetry readings because she wants a better understanding of how they do it. She meets a cop in one of these readings. At the end everything is a little hazy and it lets the audience draw conclusions.

The families settle with the woman who’s daughter was killed but her grandson is still arrested. I assume that maybe she told the cop that was at the poetry society. Even though she paid the money for the settlement she may have forgot she told the cop since she has dementia. There’s evidence of this when she talked to a reporter in a scene and then remembered she wasn’t suppose to later. At the end she wrote a poem in dedication to the girl who committed suicide. Her daughter comes home to an empty apt and it’s unclear where she went. She dropped off her poem at the school, and there’s a sense that she may have killed herself in the river too but nothing is laid out.

I enjoy auteur’s who don’t feed you all the answers. You are able to draw conclusions from the scenes. The actor who played the title role did an incredible job. She was heartbreaking in the role and I get a good sense of her character by the end of the film. It’s entirely memorable.
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4.0 out of 5 stars "Time passes and flowers fade", November 29, 2013
By 
Doug Park (Lexington, KY, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Poetry (DVD)
POETRY is a beautifully cast tragi-comedy that affords its audience an intriguing view of daily life in Korea. Its 2 hr, 19 min length, with relatively little fast action or hard tension, may prove a hindrance to many audiences. However, the cinematography is ultra-fine with some very lush scenery, and Yun Jung-hee is just superb as Mija, a 66-year-old poet-at-heart who has just been diagnosed with Alzheimer's and is also beset with a troublesome grandson who, along with five of his friends, is part of a serious scandal involving the suicide of a female classmate. This is a truly poignant film that succeeds in being artsy without being the least bit pretentious. Anyone interested in poetry-in-general should like POETRY.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Poetry, A Movie, October 8, 2014
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This review is from: Poetry (DVD)
A wonderful movie that would have been an academy award winner if it was American. Every part was well acted, story has lots of "meat". I saw it at a library "film festival" and went to Amazon right away to buy it. It's one of the few pictures I can watch more than once.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Veteran Korean actress returns for role of her life, January 21, 2013
This review is from: Poetry (DVD)
To call a film Poetry risks some disappointment.It's such a big broad term and could be an excuse for rambling, wading through imagery meant to express beauty.The film pits poetry against the ugliness,brutality,pain and anguish of modern life.Mija(Hun Jung-Hee) plays the elderly lady like a little girl on a journey of discovery.Poetry represents things that no one can describe,something that's hard to express.She's begun to forget words( `electricity','wallet','bus terminal'),being in the early stages of Alzheimer's, just as she needs to find them and express herself.She joins a poetry class for 1 month whose aim is to write a poem by its end.She also has a grand-son who with 5 of his school mates has raped a young girl who went on to commit suicide by drowning in a flowing river,seen at the movie's start and at its end.

The old lady lives with her surly grand-son, her daughter is working abroad,she also works for a part-time pittance by nursing a wealthy stroke victim.Mija is inveigled into coming up with her share of the blood-money being raised by the fathers of the teenage boys to give to the peasant mother to prevent further legal action. Mija has her own form of resistance to the poetry group, to men and male groupings,to her Viagra-taking patient, whom she blackmails to get money to pay the hush money.Lee(director)searches for the sources of art and beauty in his meandering film. Mija learns how to appreciate an apple,a fallen apricot,an overaching tree,in order to see them she feels them. Mija's thoughts are haunted by the dead girl.Although she endeavours to observe the world around her,the words she eventually finds to write her poem spring from her empathy with the dead girl,not from her observations. The ensemble cast are all very good with integrated sub-plots.The end is heart-breaking as the poem is delivered to the class and Mija disappears.Lee draws an analogy between film-making and poetry,when both appear to be dying,but people still read and write poems and watch films.
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Poetry
Poetry by Lee Chang Dong (DVD - 2011)
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