Mother (2009 film)

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Mother
Mother film poster.jpg
Theatrical poster
Directed by Bong Joon-ho
Produced by Choi Jae-won
Seo Woo-sik
Written by Bong Joon-ho
Park Eun-kyo
Starring Kim Hye-ja
Won Bin
Music by Lee Byung-woo
Cinematography Hong Kyung-pyo
Edited by Moon Sae-kyung
Production
company
CJ Entertainment
Barunson
Distributed by CJ Entertainment (South Korea)
Release date
  • 16 May 2009 (2009-05-16) (Cannes)
  • 28 May 2009 (2009-05-28) (South Korea)
Running time
128 minutes
Country South Korea
Language Korean
Budget US$5 million
Box office US$17.1 million[1]
Mother
Hangul
Revised Romanization Madeo
McCune–Reischauer Madŏ

Mother (Hangul마더; RRMadeo) is a 2009 South Korean drama film directed by Bong Joon-ho, starring Kim Hye-ja and Won Bin.

Plot[edit]

An unnamed widow lives alone with her only son, selling medicinal herbs in a small town in southern South Korea while conducting unlicensed acupuncture to the town's women on the side. Her son Yoon Do-joon is shy, but prone to attack anyone who mocks his intellectual disability. She dotes on him and scolds him for hanging out with Jin-tae, a local ne'er-do-well. When Do-joon is nearly hit by a car, he and Jin-tae vandalize the car and attack the driver and passengers as revenge. Jin-tae blames Do-joon for the damage done to the car, and Do-joon is sued. The debt causes Mother to struggle.

Late at night, Do-joon follows a high school girl named Moon Ah-jung into an abandoned building. The next morning, she is discovered dead on a rooftop, shocking the residents and pressuring the incompetent police to find the killer. Only circumstantial evidence places Do-joon near the scene of the crime. The police happily arrest the boy. He is then tricked into signing a confession, and faces a long prison sentence. Mother, believing him to be innocent, tries to find ways to prove he is not the murderer. However, she is unsuccessful, as the lawyer is unreliable.

Mother visits Jin-tae, who tells her that nobody should be trusted, as Ah-jung's body was placed from a point where everyone in the town could see it. Mother fires her lawyer and asks people around town about Ah-jung. They mention she was nicknamed "the rice cake girl," and that she liked boys. She was in a relationship with a boy who escaped a sanatorium known as "Crazy JP."

Do-joon is seen beating another prisoner who calls him "retard." Mother visits him about the matter, and Do-joon recalls a memory of Mother trying to kill him with rat poison when he was five. Mother tries to apologize, saying she wanted to free them both and offers to give him acupuncture to forget his pain, but he tells her not to see him again. She breaks down and is taken away.

Mother learns from a camera-shop worker that Ah-jung had frequent nosebleeds. Ah-jung's friend is attacked by two boys who are looking for Ah-jung's phone, but Mother rescues her. She pays Jin-tae to interrogate the boys, who confess that Ah-jung used her phone to secretly take pictures of the boys she slept with. These boys all gave her rice cakes in exchange. In his cell, Do-joon remembers seeing a man in the building the night of Ah-jung's death. He identifies one of the pictures on Ah-jung's phone, that of a white-haired elderly man. Mother remembers the man as the junk collector she bought an umbrella from when she was walking in the rain earlier. She goes to his home and asks him about what happened.

He says that he went into the abandoned building (presumably to sleep with Ah-jung, as he is seen gathering rice as payment to her) and saw a distraught Ah-jung followed by Do-joon. Do-joon curiously asked her questions, but she threw a rock at him and calls him "retard." Do-joon, instinctively attacking those who mock him, threw the rock back at her, which hit her head. He then dragged her to the rooftop. Do-joon is the one responsible for Ah-jung's death, leaving Mother horrified.

When the junk collector learns that Do-joon will be released and the case will reopen, he decides to report that Do-joon is guilty. Mother, fearing for her son, beats the collector to death and burns his house down.

Later, the police tell Mother that they found the "real" killer. He is Crazy JP, who had clothing with Ah-jung's blood on it. While it's possible the blood was from her nosebleeds, the police deduce that it was attempted rape. Feeling guilty, Mother visits JP and cries for him, knowing he is charged for a crime he didn't commit.

Do-joon is freed from prison. He investigates the junk collector's burnt house. During dinner, he says that whoever dragged Ah-jung to the roof was probably trying to alert others so they could help her quickly. As Mother departs to a bus station to go on a trip, Do-joon shows her acupuncture kit, which he found at the burnt site, and Mother tearfully leaves with it. On the bus, she gives herself acupuncture to forget her pain, and dances with the other passengers.

Cast[edit]

  • Kim Hye-ja as Mother, an unnamed widow who is extremely protective of her son and attempts to free him from a false murder charge.
  • Won Bin as Yoon Do-joon,[2] the teenage son of Mother, who has an intellectual disability and is falsely accused for the murder of a girl.
  • Jin Goo as Jin-tae, a local ne'er do well and one of Do-joon's friends. He bosses Do-joon around but agrees to help Mother free her son.
  • Moon Hee-ra as Moon Ah-jung,[3] a young girl who is murdered, leading the police to arrest Do-joon.
  • Yoon Je-moon as Je-moon, the detective in charge of Ah-jung's murder case.
  • Jeon Mi-seon as Mi-seon, a photo worker who met with Ah-jung before she died.
  • Song Sae-byeok as Detective
  • Chun Woo-hee as Mi-na, Jin-tae's girlfriend and Do-joon's best friend.
  • Kwak Do-won as Charcoal fire man
  • Kim Jin-goo as Ah-jung's grandma
  • Lee Young-suk as Elder at junk shop

Release[edit]

Mother competed in the Un Certain Regard category at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival.[4] Mother attracted 3,003,785 admissions nationwide and grossed a total of US$16,283,879 in South Korea, becoming the 6th most attended domestic film of 2009, and 10th overall.[5][6] The film had its U.S. premiere in February 2010 as part of the Santa Barbara International Film Festival and received a limited U.S. theatrical release by Magnolia Pictures in March 2010.[7] In March 2015 the film was re-released in the US, in the Pleasantville, New York based Jacob Burns Film Center, as part of the Bong Joon-ho Retrospective with The Host, Snowpiercer and Memories of Murder.[8]

Critical response[edit]

Mother received widespread acclaim from critics, who praised the director and Kim Hye-ja's performance.[9] On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 95% based on 111 reviews, with an average rating of 7.9/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "As fleshy as it is funny, Bong Joon-Ho's Mother straddles family drama, horror and comedy with a deft grasp of tone and plenty of eerie visuals."[10] On Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating to reviews, the film has a weighted average score of 79 out of 100 based on 31 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews."[11]

Top ten lists

Mother appeared on many film critics' "best-of" lists of 2010.[12]

Awards and nominations[edit]

The film was selected as South Korea's official submission for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film at the 82nd Academy Awards.[18]

Year Award Category Recipient Result Ref.
2009
Buil Film Awards
Best Film Mother Won
Best Actress Kim Hye-ja Won
Best Cinematography Hong Kyung-pyo Won
Best Music Lee Byung-woo Won
Busan Film Critics Awards
Best Film Mother Won [19]
Best Actress Kim Hye-ja Won
Best Cinematography Hong Kyung-pyo Won
Golden Rooster and Hundred Flowers Film Festival
Best Actress in a Foreign Film Kim Hye-ja Won [20][21]
Grand Bell Awards
Best Film Mother Nominated [22][23]
Best Director Bong Joon-ho Nominated
Best Actress Kim Hye-ja Nominated
Best Supporting Actor Jin Goo Won
Best Cinematography Hong Kyung-pyo Nominated
Best Music Lee Byung-woo Nominated
Korean Association of Film Critics Awards
Best Film Mother Won
Best Actress Kim Hye-ja Won
Best Screenplay Bong Joon-ho, Park Eun-kyo Won
Asia Pacific Screen Awards
Best Actress Kim Hye-ja Won [24]
Best Screenplay Bong Joon-ho, Park Eun-kyo Nominated
University Film Festival of Korea
Best Supporting Actor Jin Goo Won [25]
Blue Dragon Film Awards
Best Film Mother Won [26][27]
Best Director Bong Joon-ho Nominated
Best Actress Kim Hye-ja Nominated
Best Supporting Actor Jin Goo Won
Best Screenplay Bong Joon-ho, Park Eun-kyo Nominated
Best Cinematography Hong Kyung-pyo Nominated
Best Lighting Choi Cheol-su, Park Dong-sun Won
Best Music Lee Byung-woo Nominated
Golden Cinematography Awards
Silver Medal Cinematography Hong Kyung-pyo Won
Mar del Plata Film Festival
SIGNIS Award Mother Won [28]
Dubai International Film Festival
Best Screenplay Bong Joon-ho, Park Eun-kyo Won
Women in Film Korea Awards
Best Actress Kim Hye-ja Won [29]
Director's Cut Awards
Best Actress Kim Hye-ja Won [30]
Nikkan Sports Film Awards
Best Foreign Picture Mother Won [31]
2010
KOFRA Film Awards
Best Film Mother Won [32]
Best Actress Kim Hye-ja Won
Santa Barbara International Film Festival
Best East Meets West Cinema Award Mother Won [33]
Asian Film Awards
Best Film Mother Won [34]
Best Director Bong Joon-ho Nominated
Best Actress Kim Hye-ja Won
Best Screenplay Bong Joon-ho, Park Eun-kyo Won
Best Supporting Actor Won Bin Nominated
Best Editing Moon Sae-kyung Nominated
Baeksang Arts Awards
Best Film Mother Nominated
Best Director (Film) Bong Joon-ho Nominated
Best Screenplay (Film) Bong Joon-ho, Park Eun-kyo Nominated
Best Actor (Film) Won Bin Nominated
Best Actress (Film) Kim Hye-ja Nominated
Green Planet Movie Awards
Best Foreign Culture Film of the Year Mother Won [35]
Best International Director Bong Joon-ho Won
Best International Film Mother Won
Best International Drama (Asia) Mother Won
Boston Society of Film Critics Awards
Best Foreign Language Film Mother Won [36]
Toronto Film Critics Association Awards
Runner-up, Best Foreign Language Film Mother Won [37]
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards
Best Actress Kim Hye-ja Won [38][39]
Runner-up, Best Foreign Language Film Mother Won
San Francisco Film Critics Circle Awards
Best Foreign Language Film Mother Won [40]
2011
Kansas City Film Critics Circle Awards
Best Foreign Language Film Mother Won [41]
Belgian Syndicate of Cinema Critics
Grand Prix Mother Nominated

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Mother (2010)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 13 August 2013.
  2. ^ "Won Bin's Filmography, Credits (원빈, Korean actor)". HanCinema. Retrieved 7 March 2018. 
  3. ^ "Moon Hee-ra's Filmography, Credits (문희라, Korean actress)". HanCinema. Retrieved 7 March 2018. 
  4. ^ "Festival de Cannes: Mother". Festival-cannes.com. Retrieved 17 May 2009. 
  5. ^ "The Best Selling Films of 2009". Koreanfilm.org. Retrieved 13 August 2013.
  6. ^ "South Korea Box Office: August 7–9, 2009". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 13 August 2013.
  7. ^ "Exam and Mother Take Top Honors at Santa Barbara Film Fest". Dread Central. 16 February 2010. Retrieved 13 August 2013. 
  8. ^ "New York Theater Hosting Bong Joon-ho Retrospective". Dread Central. 16 February 2010. Retrieved 13 August 2013. 
  9. ^ "Bong Joon-ho's Fierce Love: Better Not Make This Mom Angry". The New York Times. 11 March 2010. Retrieved 20 October 2017. 
  10. ^ "Mother (Madeo) (2010)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 20 October 2017. 
  11. ^ "Mother (2010) reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 20 October 2017. 
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o "2010 Film Critic Top Ten Lists". Metacritic. 9 December 2010. Retrieved 25 May 2017. 
  13. ^ a b c d "The best films of 2010". The A.V. Club. 16 December 2010. Retrieved 25 December 2010. 
  14. ^ "The 25 Best Films of 2010". Slant. 15 December 2010. Retrieved 25 May 2017. 
  15. ^ "Top Ten 2010". Cahiers du cinéma. Retrieved 25 May 2017. 
  16. ^ Lane, Anthony (7 December 2010). "Ten Films I Liked in 2010". Retrieved 25 May 2017. 
  17. ^ Stevens, Dana (29 December 2010). "Wow. My Top Ten Movies of 2010". Retrieved 25 May 2017. 
  18. ^ "Film Council Selects Mother for Academy Award Submission". The Chosun Ilbo. 11 August 2009. Retrieved 13 August 2013. 
  19. ^ Kim, Jessica (12 October 2009). "Kim, Ha win top film critics award". 10Asia. Retrieved 13 August 2013. 
  20. ^ Lee, Hyo-won (6 November 2009). "Kim Hye-ja Named Best Actress in China Festival". The Korea Times. Retrieved 13 August 2013. 
  21. ^ "Kim Hye-ja named best actress at Chinese film fest". The Korea Herald. 6 November 2009. Retrieved 13 August 2013. 
  22. ^ "Mother - Awards". Cinemasie. Retrieved 13 August 2013.
  23. ^ Han, Sang-hee (8 November 2009). "Grand Bell Film Fest Puzzles Movie Fans". The Korea Times. Retrieved 18 November 2012. 
  24. ^ Ko, Jae-wan (27 November 2009). "Kim Hye-ja wins Best Actress at Asia Pacific awards". 10Asia. Archived from the original on 13 August 2013. Retrieved 13 August 2013. 
  25. ^ Garcia, Cathy Rose A. (1 December 2009). "Ha Ji-won Wins 1st Best Actress Award". The Korea Times. Retrieved 13 August 2013. 
  26. ^ "Mother Sweeps Blue Dragon Awards". The Chosun Ilbo. 3 December 2009. Retrieved 13 August 2013. 
  27. ^ Kim, Jessica (3 December 2009). "Mother wins Blue Dragon gold". 10Asia. Retrieved 13 August 2013. 
  28. ^ Ko, Kyoung-seok (15 December 2009). "Mother wins award at Argentine film fest". 10Asia. Retrieved 13 August 2013. 
  29. ^ Ko, Kyoung-seok (16 December 2009). "Dir. Park Chan-ok named top female film figure of year". 10Asia. Retrieved 13 August 2013. 
  30. ^ Kim, Lynn (17 December 2009). "Winners of Director's CUT Awards announced". 10Asia. Retrieved 13 August 2013. 
  31. ^ "Mother named best foreign picture in Japan". Yonhap. 30 December 2009. Retrieved 13 August 2013. 
  32. ^ Ko, Kyoung-seok (28 January 2010). "Film journalists pick Song Kang-ho, Kim Hye-ja top actors". 10Asia. Retrieved 13 August 2013. 
  33. ^ Ko, Kyoung-seok (18 February 2010). "Korean film Mother wins award at Santa Barbara film fest". 10Asia. Retrieved 13 August 2013. 
  34. ^ Landreth, Jonathan (22 March 2010). "Mother tops Asian Film Awards". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 16 August 2013. 
  35. ^ Kim, Lynn (25 March 2010). "Korean pic Mother, stars win big at Green Planet Movie Awards". 10Asia. Retrieved 13 August 2013. 
  36. ^ Morris, Wesley (13 December 2010). "Social Network is tops with Boston Society of Film Critics". Boston.com. Retrieved 16 August 2013. 
  37. ^ Knegt, Peter (14 December 2010). "Social Network Tops San Francisco and Toronto Film Critics' Awards". IndieWire. Retrieved 13 August 2013. 
  38. ^ Lee, Hyo-won (13 December 2010). "Kim Hye-ja named best actress by LA critics". The Korea Times. Retrieved 13 August 2013. 
  39. ^ "Kim Hye-ja Wins Best Actress Award from L.A. Film Critics". The Chosun Ilbo. 14 December 2010. Retrieved 13 August 2013. 
  40. ^ Harvey, Dennis (13 December 2010). "Network scores with San Fran critics". Variety. Retrieved 13 August 2013. 
  41. ^ Hong, Lucia (7 January 2011). "Mother receives honor by Kansas City Film Critics Circle". 10Asia. Retrieved 13 August 2013. 

External links[edit]