A Korean single mother immigrates to Canada with her young son in the 1990s and must navigate the challenges of motherhood and adapting to a new world in this poignant award-winning coming of age drama.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2023
A stunning second feature from Canadian director Anthony Shim, this gorgeous coming of age tale of the immigrant experience has won numerous awards since its debut at Toronto International Film Festival, winning the prestigious Platform Prize and Toronto Film Critics Association’s Best Canadian Film Award.
After the death of her partner, So-young (Choi Seung-yoon) leaves Korea with her young son Dong-hyun (Dohyun Noel Hwang) and moves to suburban Canada in the 1990s. Immediately othered and bullied by his classmates, Dong-hyun gets little help from his school as casual racism runs rampant in the lily-white community. So-young makes a living in a menial job and is constantly on the receiving end of racist and sexist remarks, but despite her isolation in this new world, she strives to adapt to her new home and provide for her son.
As a teenage Dong-hyun (Ethan Hwang) finds a way to assimilate into Canadian life, he struggles with his Korean heritage and is increasingly frustrated with his mother’s reluctance to talk about his father. When So-young receives unexpected news they make an unplanned trip back to Korea, providing mother and son an opportunity to reconcile the present by reconnecting with their roots. — Vicci Ho
“The beats of the immigrant drama — the new friendships and small triumphs of assimilation, as well as the humiliations and miscommunication of cultural otherness — are all here… in its soulful, expertly crafted simplicity it does ring with the sincerest and most moving of sentiments that a grown-up child could express to a beloved parent: I remember it all, and thank you.” — Jessica Kiang, Variety