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Kim Ji Young Born 1982

Opening Date
14 Nov 2019
118 mins
Korean with English & Chinese subtitles
Kim Do-Young
Jung Yu-Mi, Gong Yoo
KIM Ji-young is an ordinary Korean woman in her 30s who is often distressed by her everyday life as a full-time mom and housewife. Although being married to the man she loves and the struggle of raising a baby girl have forced her to give up on many things, Ji-young believes she is content in life. However, her husband, Dae-hyeon, notices that life is hitting Ji-young harder than she realizes. Worried, Dae-hyeon turns to a psychiatrist saying, “My wife is turning into someone else,” as Ji-young begins to speak strikingly similar to her mother, her best friend who died while giving birth, and her late grandmother.
By Flora  14 Nov 2019
Korean film ‘Kim Ji Young Born 1982’ is the film adaptation of the bestselling novel written by Cho Nam-Joo, about a housewife in her 30s who suffers from depression.
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Korean film ‘Kim Ji Young Born 1982’ is the film adaptation of the bestselling novel written by Cho Nam-Joo, about a housewife in her 30s who suffers from depression. However, the main theme of the movie or the book is not about her mental illness, but the depiction of everyday sexism women in Korea experienced since young. 

With #metoo and #TimesUp movements thrust into the spotlight these few years, the world is finally at a stage where we are more open to topics and issues that were once seen as a hushed matter or was never even thought as a societal concern. 

The book and the movie highlighted the gender inequality and discrimination Ji-young (Jung Yu-mi) and her female colleagues faced at work, a cafe and even at home. It is a hotly debated topic these few years, challenging the audience to once again ponder about the issue of discrimination and segregation. Perhaps the Asian values of women’s roles that were displayed in this film were so close to home that it becomes more relatable for a woman growing up in Singapore. 

Ji-young is a mother of a two-year-old baby, a stay-at-home mum who takes care of her baby; makes sure her husband, Jung Dae-Hyun (Gong Yoo) is fed and well taken care of; ensures that her house is always clean and tidy, and be the filial daughter to her parents and parents-in-law. She was once a rising executive in a company but has chosen to be a housewife when she became a mother. The only time she gets to have a little rest is when she is back with her parents’ home where she can be taken care of. 

During a visit to her in-laws, Ji-young is pressured to be seen as a dutiful wife who is able to take care of the husband, daughter and his family. Instead of having a relaxing time with her family after a meal, Ji-young has to carry out her duty - as a woman, not a wife - to wash the dishes while the males in the house get to sit by the couch watching their favourite television programmes. The anger and unfairness triggered a personality episode in her where she suddenly became her mother, scolding her mother-in-law about the way she treated her. 

Throughout the film, Ji-young was slowly peeled away of her confidence, though you see her trying hard to break status quo. Her mental illness also creeps in between the cracks, causing her to break out into different characters. While her doting husband suggests switching roles in the house so that she could go back to the workforce, his mother-in-law strongly disagrees and spill the beans about her condition to Ji-young’s mother, in order to prevent her son from being a househusband. 

In terms of its tone of the film, Kim Ji -Young Born 1982 does feel a drag at times because the audience essentially goes on the journey with the main character - including her excitements, the discrimination she faced and her emotional struggle to find her footing as a woman, a mother and a wife. Actress Jung Yu-mi shows the fragility and with much realism, at the same time showing her desperation to transition back to the workforce. 

Despite its flaws, Kim Ji Young Born 1982 is a film that should be seen for its prevailing themes such as gender discrimination, sexual harassment and the balance of the parents’ duties at home. The film isn’t here to condemn the men, nor is it one that presents its complaints, but to show the reality of how society has judged one-half of the world unfairly for far too long. 
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