So I wanted to catch up with the recent works of Gong Yoo and came up with his recent film, Kim Ji Young, Born 1982 that was released October 2019. And I think this is something people shouldn’t sleep on. This film is also the reunion of Gong Yoo and Jung Yu Mi after working from the 2016 film, Train to Busan. It also highlighted the importance of female empowerment and family ties in a conservative society.
The movie is based by the bestselling novel of South Korean author, Cho Nam Joo with the same title. Gong Yoo portrayed the role of Jung Deo Hyun, the husband of Kim Ji Young played by Jung Yu Mi.
The film kicks off with a confusing environment. It shows Ji Young, doing the household chores and taking care of her daughter while waiting for her husband to come home like a normal housewife. During the Lunar New Year, the couple visited Deo Hyun’s family to spend the event with them. Ji Young is being ordered around by Deo Hyun’s mother. The mother reasons out that it is Ji Young’s responsibility since she is a daughter-in-law.
Deo Hyun notices that something’s wrong with Ji Young and wanted to help her. He never forgets to checks on his wife and assist her in every way he can especially as a partner. One day, Deo Hyun opened up to Ji Young that he thinks she’s suffering from depression. He asked her to visit a psychiatrist, but Ji Young leaves upon learning that the treatment is expensive.
Ji Young then meets up with Hye Soo, former colleague and expresses her intent to go back to work again. Hye Soo tells Ji Young that their former Team Leader Kim will start her own company and encourage Ji Young to apply. At home, Ji Young happily tells Deo Hyun that she wanted to work again. Supportive Deo Hyun agrees with his wife’s wishes, as he thinks it can also help her with her current condition.
Together, the couple work together to help each other out. The film concludes with Ji Young agreeing to seek treatment and is slowly recovering through her writing. Ji Young reassures that she’ll get through her problems with the supportive her family who’s willing to help her.
I didn’t expect that this film will tackle a sensitive issue. The grounds of patriarchal society was cleary evident in this movie that I sometimes wish I could punch the office workers and people who degrades married women for going out. I also love how the story balances out the story between the two families of Ji Young’s and Deo Hyun’s to understand the culture and household practices they grew up with.
I love how to story emphasized that husbands can also play a vital role in the household. Sometimes, people assume they are the money makers in the family since they are the ones working, but it became different when Deo hyun came in the picture.
Clearly this films sends out a message that housewives has a dream that they want to pursue even after giving birth. They are just afraid of being hindered and labeled by the society as irresponsible for choosing something aside from their children.
The Actors and their Character
I. LOVE. EVERY. ACTORS. IN. THIS. FILM.
I never expected Gong Yoo to portray Deo Hyun that great! Sure Gong Yoo has played a father role in Train to Busan, but in this movie he was different. He step-up and give Deo Hyun’s character a justice of being an affectionate and loving husband to Ji Young.
This is the second time I’ve watched Jung Yu Mi, and I was really impressed with her acting! Who would’ve thought that the pregnant woman from Train to Busan pulled off the character of Ji Young, a mother who’s trying to keep herself together for her family’s sake? Ji Young’s character was challenging and Jung Yu Mi pulled it off perfectly!
Every casts in this film added an additional impact like Park Sung Yeon who portrayed Team Leader Kim. Her character gave Ji Young a string of hope that she can also be a working mom like her.
I wanted to commend Kim Mi Kyung, for playing the role of Ji Young’s mother. She is definitely the mother everyone should be blessed to have for. I love how the mother in this film is someone who will wholeheartedly welcome you in their arms if you need to.
Kim Ji Young, Born 1982 is a film that gives us a lot of opportunity to start a healthy discussion about women empowerment. It also gives every housewives a hope that their life shouldn’t only revolve on their kids. Mothers can still pursue their dreams or goals even if they need to take care of their children.
It also open up about the unequal treatment of the daughters and daughters-in-laws in Korea as most women are always asked to stay home and serve the family. A total opposite when you are a son, you are always cared for since you will be a head of the family one day.
To end, Kim Ji Young, Born 1982, is an eye-opener film. The setting might only be in Korea, but the issues about gender roles and patriarchal society is even applicable from different countries. This film is perfect for someone who wanted to play with their curiosity and widen their view about the Korean family culture.
You can stream it on Viu here.
Image Sources: Lotte Entertainment via Naver.