Screened as part of NZIFF 2018
This engrossing and startling Korean drama draws us into the lives of grieving parents Sung-cheol and Mi-sook. Their only son drowned rescuing one of his classmates and while the school has posthumously proclaimed the boy a hero, six months on the loss is still palpably raw.
Sung-cheol attempts to cope by throwing himself into his work as an interior decorator while Mi-sook attempts to conceive by artificial insemination. When Sung-cheol runs into Ki-hyun, the boy their son rescued, he starts to take an interest in the withdrawn young man. Ki-hyun has dropped out of school and doesn’t seem to have a family of his own. Eventually Sung-cheol takes pity on the boy and decides to take him on as an apprentice. At first Mi-sook objects to the idea, but soon begins to form her own attachment to Ki-hyun. Before long the couple are treating Ki-hyun like their own kin, but there’s something not quite right…
First time director Shin Dong-seok skillfully navigates the weighty subject matters of grief, reconciliation and community healing with arresting insight, delivering an intensely emotional drama driven by a trio of powerhouse performances. — MM