February 20, 2011

Poetry: Not Enough Rhyme or Reason in the Old Lady's Lousy Life

Oh, Mija (Yun Jeong-hie), you pitiable, misdirected old lady. Did you really think that enrolling in a creative writing class at the community center would reconnect you to the beautiful things in life? Your troubles are far too deep for that. Your grandson (Lee Da-wit), after all, is one of six admitted rapists who've driven a fellow high school student to jump off a bridge to her untimely death. You claim to be close to your own daughter (his mother) but from the looks of it, you'd prefer whoring yourself out to a disabled old man as a way to raise funds to bribe the suicide's mother than to ask your dear child for a measly dime. Oh Mija, did you actually think that learning to write a sonnet would cheer you up? Did you really believe that getting to know the wisecracking cop while hanging out at poetry night at the local cafe would lead to something better? What were you thinking? Oh, wait. That's right. You can't remember what you were thinking because you've got Alzheimer's. So I'll ask the film's director Lee Chang-dong: What were you thinking? Sure, Poetry has quietly profound moments but did they require two and a half hours to serve? And is the film's bleached out palette a commentary on the washed out lives of your characters or an unneeded snub to the art of cinematography? I love Oasis and I like Secret Sunshine and The Green Fish quite a bit but this Poetry just wore me out.

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