Korean cinema has a way of challenging societal norms. It is further apparent in Kim Ji Young, Born 1982—a feature film debut of female director Kim Do Yeong—which is now streaming on Viu Premium. The film is based on the 2016 best-selling novel by Cho Nam Joo, that follows the story of Kim Ji Young, a 30-something housewife who becomes a stay-at-home mom dealing with depression. Below, we round up all the reasons why you should definitely have this film on your to-watch list:
1. It’s a reunion project for Gong Yoo and Jung Yu Mi.
This is their third movie together since Silenced (2011) and Train to Busan (2016). In this movie, Jung Yu Mi plays the titular character who is married to Jung Dae Hyun (Gong Yoo). Together, they’re raising a toddler daughter in a conservative society. With Kim Ji Young considered as a controversial feminist movie in South Korea, both Jung Yu Mi and Gong Yoo have earned our respect for taking a stand by portraying the gender inequalities that still exist in this day and age.
2. It shows that misogyny is present in every stage of a woman’s life.
The non-linear storytelling gives us a glimpse of Kim Ji Young’s past. In her teenage years, she had already experienced sexism and harassment from growing up with a dad who favors her brother, encountering a pervert in a public transport, to being called out for wearing a short skirt.
3. It tackles gender inequality in making career choices.
Kim Ji Young wants to be a successful career woman but her ambition took a backseat when she was boxed as housewife who needed to focus on taking care of her daughter and their home. The movie also shows how women are treated in the workplace. During her corporate stint, Kim Ji Young saw how her lady boss was being rewarded less than their male colleagues. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), South Korea has a wide gender pay gap among developed nations.
4. It sheds light on mental health.
Being stuck in the same routine of attending to her family’s needs and not having the time to pursue her own dreams has brought Kim Ji Young to a state of depression. We also see her husband Jung Dae Hyun trying to redeem the negative male portrayal in the movie. He does his best in convincing his wife to seek therapy for her own well-being. Aside from that, he begins to show support for Kim Ji Young’s dreams by giving way for her career growth.
5. It shows how women can empower each other.
Kim Ji Young has found her support system through her own mother, her close office friend, her lady boss, and her fellow 30-something mothers who understand the daily struggles they face as women. In the same way, the movie has also served as the #MeToo voice of South Korean women.
Watch the full trailer here: