May 2, 2009

When I Turned Nine: The Crush That Couldn't Crush Him

If I remember correctly, when I was nine, the world was a polarized place. Good and bad were pretty easily differentiated, playground alliances dissolved as quickly as they were formed, and crushes came and went with growing intensity despite being hormone-free. Violence could come out of anywhere. Furthermore, the meaning of life wasn't obfuscated by fancy theories. It just was. Everything had a mystery to it. Yun In-ho's grade school drama When I Turned Nine does a lovely job of capturing that time as it charts the evolving relationship between a noble spirited boy (Kim Seok) and the new girl (Lee Se-yeong) whom he falls for. She's both pretty and pretty awful: She lies pathologically, screams if she doesn't get her way, fake cries if she's losing an argument, and acts like she's better than everyone else. Yet you never question his devotion to her because when you're a kid no one expects your actions to be ruled by logic. (That they do expect that from adults can be a bit baffling.) Maybe she's acting out because of a deep, dark secret. Maybe she's a sociopath. We'll never know. Like our hero's mom (Jeong Seon-kyeong), we're blind in one eye. We know we only see half the picture at any given moment and that the big answers are, most likely, not forthcoming.

No comments:

Post a Comment