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Alma Ochoa
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The 2009 Korean movie, ‘Mother,’ produced by Choi Jae-won and Seo Woo-sik, starring Kim Hye-ja plays an over protective mother to her son, Do-joon, played by Won Bin.  Do-joon who is a 27 year old mentally delayed man is taken advantaged by his so called friend, Jin-tae, who talks him into vandalizing private property and attacking people.  Later after having a late night out drinking and being stood up by Jin-tae, Do-joon goes home intoxicated and runs into a young girl who runs away from him and Do-joon goes home.  The next morning  that same young school girl was found dead draped over a roof top railing. Do-joon seen as an easy target is arrested and coerced into confessing to the murder.  His mother believes he is innocent and has been framed.  She hires a lawyer who takes her money but is not actually interested in investigating to build a case to defend Do-joon.  So the mother decides to fire him and do the investigating herself in order to prove her son’s innocence.  This murder mystery like all others has some unexpected twist and turns.  

Due to the inappropriate language and sexual content in this movie it would be extremely inappropriate to show to my high school students in its entirety.  However, some of the clips could be used with them to discuss the different class systems within the movie, how Do-joon is treated as a person not only by the investigating officers but his friend Jin-tae.  Jin-tae’s character and actions would also all make for a good discussion as well as the consequences of hanging out with people who partake in criminal activities.  Overall this movie was a little dark for my taste but shows the love of a mother for her child and the lengths she would go through to protect her child. 

Jonathan Tam
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Mother Review

Funnily enough, this film came on as I was writing my review to Parasite, but I was happy that it did because Mother was as much if not more entertaining. Mother is another film directed by Bong Joon Ho and is one of his earlier works. The film has less to do with the social issues posed in Parasite, but is a great thriller film for folks eager to explore foreign film.

As I was watching the film, I couldn’t help but be reminded of Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck. The plots both revolve around characters with intellectual disabilities that when not carefully looked after, commit murder of young sexual partners with only their close ones to pay the emotional price. I think that Bong Joon Ho’s choice to tell the story from a Mother-Son perspective rather than a friend-friend relationship (George and Lenny) definitely puts the mother in difficult positions that George didn’t have to face. Where as George was okay with murdering Lenny, upon finding out that her son really committed the murder, the mother (who throughout the film is nameless) does not quite know what to do. It’s because of this that I think when teaching Of Mice and Men, Mother would be a great work to juxtapose it with. It’s a work with similar themes, but with a different paradigm. And it’s told with a level of film making that feels reminiscent of David Fincher films and most post-2000 thrillers to appeal to more modern crowds.