Bringing to light a heinous crime, Poetry does a good job of making a case against bullying. The acting, directing and cinematography all connect in this South Korean tale that is heartbreaking and revealing. Acting saves the lengthy wondering film.
Mi-ja (Yoon Jung-hee) leads a hand-to-mouth life raising her teenage grandson by herself. She nevertheless, retains a childlike innocence and curiosity, and becomes immersed in the world of poetry and beauty when she enrolls in a local writing class. But when she learns of a shocking revelation, she must confront the ugly side of life, and take matters into her own hands.
Delivering a wonderful performance, Yoon Jung-hee shows the devastating affects her character faces in a dreadful situation. I love the way she moves through the film sometimes aware, other times oblivious to what life has dealt her. Finding grief not only in what her grandson has done, but feeling the effects of a debilitating disease manipulating her brain.
Making a mesmerizing tale writer/director Chang-dong Lee dives into every angle of his main character’s plight. So much so, however, that the film takes a long time to develop making his project almost unending. A problem with most directors that write their own pieces, it’s never done until every last word, character, incident and bit of information has been filmed. Although I liked the film, it gets way too long to be perfect.
The cinematography showing the landscapes and villages of South Korea becomes part of the entertainment. Working the characters through the plot with a National Geographic background keeps the film from being dreary in light of the subject matter.
Poetry is unrated but contains adult content and disturbing images. The foreign film is in Korean with English Subtitles.