Little Forest (2018) - South Korea
Reviewed by Andrew Chan (Film Critics Circle of Australia)
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One of the most important female Korean director in the new wave is Yim Soon-rye and “Little Forest” sums up the little movie with a big heart perfectly. It is the simpler thing in life that truly matters and finding out who we are and what we wanted to do with our lives. It’s a process of appreciation of the smaller things in life and like quote used in the film - “When things are hard, remember the scent of the sun, wind and rain.” As we bustle into the big international cities and go about our daily lives routine, we forget to breathe well, to eat well, sleep well and most importantly live well. “Little Forest” serves as a kind reminder of these things and does so in a slow yet captivating pace gelling perfectly with a beautiful performance from Kim Tae-ri (“The Handmaiden”).
Kim Tae-ri is simply outstanding in a difficult role that could easily have failed in a lesser actress. Kim is class with likability and presence as she goes about cooking in finer details and each scenes and movements show a fraction of her life and how she came to be where she is. As audience, we enjoy those simple moments and her tiny joys and tears provide the us with a warm and captivating feeling in the reflection of our true self. Ryu Jun-yeol plays the long time love interest and is very much at home farming and his interactions with Kim further symbolise the honest love and friendship. Likewise, Jin Ki-joo as the other childhood friend is natural in her approach to round out the three main characters. In flashbacks, we see the lovely Moon So-ri as the calm and balanced mother.
All in all, “Little Forest” is the kind of film that is the perfect escapist cinematic experience. There aren’t many thrills or exciting moments, but it is filled with plenty of moments where we reflect and think about own senseless life and direction. It is perhaps fitting that with the isolation measures during the Coronavirus that we truly understand what really matters in our lives and what we truly need may well be very simple.
I rated it 8.5/10
DIRECTED BY:Yim Soon-rye
STARRING:Kim Tae-ri, Ryu Jun-yeol, Jin Ki-joo, Moon So-ri
RUNNING TIME:103 Minutes