Film Review: Kim Ji Young: Born 1982 (82년생 김지영) (2019) - South Korea
Reviewed by Andrew CHAN (Film Critics Circle of Australia)
Help me reach one review per day in 2021. 2021 Review count - 01/365
Buy me a coffee ☕️ or two to support our Asian cinema film reviews since 2004!
There is a lot of striking raw emotions running in the Kim Do-young’s directorial debut, “Kim Ji Young: Born 1982”, based on Cho Nam-joo’s bestselling autobiographical novel. What makes the film better presented, is how the film allows time for the characters to go about their daily lives, interactions and social conditioning rather than focusing on manufactured melodrama. The portrayal of mental illness shaped by the society values and family upbringing of male gender preference all adds up to the emotional turmoil that is highly relatable by modern audiences. Both leads Jung Yu-mi and Gong Yoo performs convincingly with realism to their respective characters without overdoing it. This is an excellent debut film that sets out with a strong message to convey along the enduring journey.
Jung Yu-mi plays the title role with a certain degree of vulnerability yet quite confidence that makes her immensely relatable and believable to watch. The moments when she takes an unaware mental illness turn and the realisation of her illness are two of the best moments in the movie. Underrated in his role and character as the supportive husband yet undermined by family and social values played by excellently by Gong Yoo. It’s a difficult role to plays and I am glad that Yoo manages to not be stereotypical indeed playing a modern day dependable partner who is thrown into a situation to deal with in a composed manner even if he is scared and suffering within. Kim Mi-kyung who plays Kim Ji Young’s mother gives a powerful performance as the mother living through the older generation society as well as dealing with the same issues on hand.
All in all, “Kim Ji Young: Born 1982” is not your normal commercial film, but rather it goes a few levels deeper with relevant themes and societal concerns that elevates the film above its genre cliches. We are void of those cliches moments and overly emotive undertones, instead we are deal with a real life situation happening in hand. It is ultimately about one character facing a slowly challenging mental illness and how it is felt by those around her. It is by far the most realistic portrayal I have witness and heartfelt as well.
I rated it 8/10