Openhearted but still sharp-minded and quietly mysterious, this may be the least carnivorous movie of the year.

One distinction in this piquant tale of youthful homecoming is that it is the ninth feature for Yim Soon-rye, a hallmark for any female director, in Korea or elsewhere.

Another is a remarkable performance from Kim Tae-ri, who instantly charms as Hye-won, a woman in her early 20s newly returned from a sour Seoul experience to the rural village to which she moved as a child, when her dad was dying. Now her enigmatic mother is nowhere to be seen, although their tidy little home is still well-stocked with useful cooking implements. Good thing, since “I came back because I got hungry,” she tells a relative. She’s not kidding. …

The photography of the farms and the forest are so beautiful. The conflict between mother and daughter is also well done. The scenes of fellowship with Hye-won with Jae-ha and Ki-joo are filled with love and sometimes strife. The cast did a fantastic job and no doubt Kim Tae-ri will continue to blossom as a leading lady in Korean dramatic films!

Moviegoers and foodies alike will feast on Little Forest.

Kim Tae-ri as Song Hye-won
Ryu Jun-yeol as Lee Jae-ha
Moon So-ri as Mom

About Human vs Rat, which shows the dark side of humans.

The story of a young woman who returns to her childhood home, in a traditional Korean village, after leaving for the big city in pursuit of what turned out to be an elusive dream. When she returns home, her mother isn’t there – but her mother’s “Little Forest”, the many ways in which a single mother successfully made a home for her much loved child, unfurl with a long succession of lovingly sketched details involving mostly food preparation.

The unfurling moments are lightly but lovingly shared with two childhood friends, one of whom also abandoned their elusive dream of success in the big city (Seoul) and the other who is still pursuing the small town equivalent of that elusive dream—without ever leaving home.

Movie Information

Release date: February 28, 2018 (South Korea)
Director: Yim Soon-rye
Adapted from: Little Forest
Music by: Lee Jun-oh
Box office: US$11.1 million
Language: Korean

Peter Ahn

Peter Ahn

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