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on January 22, 2005
While trying to find a self-supporting job, a stressed-out single mom leaves her 7yo son with his grandmother, a crippled, horribly bent-over, backwards living, ancient crone who lives in a dilapidated hut in the middle of a mountainous rural area. Not only that: she's mute. The boy arrives with battery-operated video toys, spoiled, demanding, and scornful of his grandmother, her home, his surroundings. She, in turn, is stoic, uncomplaining, forgiving, bestowing unconditional love on the truly unlikeable kid.

Slowly, as the movie unfolds, the boy learns love and respect.

An amazing film, made more so by the fact that the old woman essentially plays herself. Not only had she never acted in a film before; she'd never even SEEN one.
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A loud, careless seven-year old city boy is left with his ancient country grandmother for several weeks while his mother looks for work in Seoul. This story is the slow developing of a relationship between the two, as the woman takes any abuse the boy gives with quiet patience and the boy gradually comes to respect and even love her.
The shots are quite beautiful, with visuals often communicating as much as the words, and the setting in the countryside of South Korea is lovely.
I thoroughly enjoyed the film as well as learning a bit about the country. DVD extras are non-existent. The film can be heard in Korean with optional English subtitles.
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on November 11, 2003
This movie is shot as if you are there...little music and many times with only sounds of footsteps and rain as the score. The deaf and mute grandmother shows her love not by voice, but by her actions which slowly cracks the little spoiled boy's shell. By feeling so much emotion just by watching a woman who doesn't say a word shows how powerful this movie is. I cried for an hour after watching this, especially replaying the last scene of farewell in my head. I could not stop wondering "what happened next?" even weeks after. True storytelling about unconditional love and a treasure of a movie.
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on December 2, 2004
This movie is so quiet and understated, yet so amazingly able to convey the feelings, emotions, and motivations of the two main characters, the grandmother and grandson.

At first you just want to slap the petulant, ingrateful little brat. Over and over he shows appalling mean-spiritedness and selfishness toward his patient and loving grandmother, yet with silent grace she wisely shrugs it off with the understanding of youthful spite that only comes with age. Her love for him is unwavering.

He is indolent and thoughtless. But time after time, she suffers through without a word, without losing patience. While he lays on the floor playing his gameboy, she sweeps the floor around him. When he hides her shoes, she walks to market barefoot. When she can't afford busfare for both, she sends him home on the bus and walks home herself. She barters her goods to buy him a chicken for dinner (walking home in the rain) and he complains that it's not fried. Argh!

Yet despite constant abuse from her grandson, her love and patience for him doesn't relent. Without a word, we can see the grandmother's unconditional love.

Stories like this are all about the redeeming ending, so you know the rascal is going to come around eventually, and by the end you're trying to hasten it along. It becomes almost emotionally exhausting watching this long-suffering elderly lady sacrifice so much of herself just to placate this tempermental brat.

In the end, the shell cracks and he does begin to show some sentiment toward her - walking home with her, covering her with a blanket, and returning her hairpin. When it's time to leave he's in tears, worried about her health and how she'll keep in touch with him.

The dialogue in this film is minimal - the grandmother, who is mute, never speaks at all. Yet through precise and insightful direction and cinematography, the message being conveyed is never lost. Through actions we can all relate to, the stubborness of youth and the patience and wisdom of the elderly, much of this story is told visually. It is done so beautifully and in such a subtle, yet clear, manner that every scene seems like a personal revelation. The storyline, filming, and interaction of the actors is masterful.

Truly an excellent, touching film.
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on May 22, 2003
I can't say enough about this movie. Someone passed it along to me and I cried and even laughed. This movie grabes at the heart and you can't help but think of your own Grandmother. I have a better appreciation for the simple things in life. This is a simple movie but it leaves you thinking about it long after you have watched it. Once you see this film you will want to tell everyone you know to watch it. There's nothing like it, a true gem.
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on February 1, 2004
Well not many do, but this one made me cry. The plot is so simple. The Grandmother agrees to help her daughter by watching her 7 year old son for a little while so she can find work. The Grandmother lives alone in a shanty and farms in the mountains. She's a deaf-mute and doesn't say a single word, she walks
slowly, stooped over her little walking stick. The boy is an arrogant, selfish, noisy city lad, who just wants to play his electronic game. During a period of about 8 weeks, his life slowly gets assumed into his Grandmother's. The movie ends predictably. It is so sweetly written, and such a patient, patient, camera for this patient, patient, woman. This story is about strength in frailty. The vulnerability of life and love and human dignity. A distilled fragile relationship that grows out of the time these two souls are allowed to share. Please see this one when you have time to just get absorbed into it, preferably with someone of any age. I can't imagine anyone who would not like this movie.
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on December 7, 2003
I wasted my time watching "Gangs of New York" last night only to have it blown out of the water by this simple, undoubtedly cheap to make, film. With all the money Hollywood has at its disposal, it can't make movies as good as those made with a good idea and a little inspired effort.

Even if you find that you can rent this DVD, just buy it now because you'll want to see it more than once for sure. Leave it on the shelf.
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on March 14, 2006
Saw it by myself the first time and I laugh & cried. Saw it with my wife & childrem (one 7 and one 3) and we all laugh & cried. Good tears though, the ones that feel sweet & sour yet you feel positive about being in contact with your feelings, your heart & soul.

This movie is a simple story of a complex problem. Is a story of motherly love, sacrife, the strugle of being very poor, family, a tribute to the elder & the simple things in life that we take for granted that are the real source of happiness.

Dont miss the chance to share and cherish this movie with your children, it will show them a different point of view, it will be a time to educate them with the values that can change lifes and it will give them the opportunity ponder what are the things that really matters.

Most definitely i recommend to add this movie to your collection. We do not understand Korean yet it was easy to understand.
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on November 14, 2003
This is such a great movie. Having lived in Korea for two years, I loved it for the reminders of my time there. It was a great movie to watch with friends and family who have not been to Korea as well because it gives a clear picture into the life of the old and young...and the sharp difference between the generation that grew up with war and occupation and those who have had very few hardships.
I found this movie to be very universal in its themes and a great discussion provoker. I'm guessing that even people who have not traveled or lived in Asia...and those who hate subtitles as well, would really love this movie. It's a must see!
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on July 25, 2003
When we first meet 7-year-old Sang Woo we are greatly tempted to slap and kick him for his many selfish and spoiled actions he commits against others. He is the typical bratty child. But after he is sent to live with his grandmother in the Korean countryside while his mother looks for employment in Seoul, Sang Woo gradually transforms his attitude towards others and starts to appreciate those around him more. He progressively begins to appreciate the actions of both his mute grandmother and the neighbor children. At the end of his stay his separation from his grandmother is painful and heart breaking for both of them. They have created a bond across generations that is filled with love and understanding.
THE WAY HOME is a beautiful film that is difficult to forget. I certainly felt lonely for my own deceased grandmother while watching this film. The ending tribute dedicated to all grandmothers was a nice touch. Also, the cinematography of the Korean countryside was breath taking. I highly recommend this film.
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