Friday, April 21, 2017

Hope (2013) - Foreign Film Friday

Number Rolled: 24
Movie Name/Year: Hope (2013)
Tagline: None
Genre: Drama
Length: 123 minutes
Rating: NR
Distributing Companies: At Entertainment, Musashino Entertainment, Lotte Entertainment
Producer: Unknown
Director: Joon-ik Lee
Writer: Ji-hye Kim
Actors: Lee Re, Kyoung-gu Sul, Ji-won Uhm, Hae-suk Kim, Mi-ran Ra, Sang-ho Kim, Jin-Sung Yang
Stunt Doubles: Unknown

Blurb from Netflix: After 8-year-old So-won narrowly survives a brutal sexual assault, her family labors to help her heal while coping with their own rage and grief.

Selina’s Point of View:
That movie was the most difficult movie I’ve ever seen in my entire life.

It wasn’t difficult because it was bad, just the opposite. When you take a horrific subject and have it acted flawlessly and written just as well… it becomes something in a completely different league.

Sure, when you watched Bambi’s mother die, you probably cried. When you saw the ending of SLC Punk! (1998) you cried, too. This was a very different kind of terrified crying. It’s as difficult to swallow as it is, because it could happen. That is the scariest thing in the world. It’s even based on a true story.

When I read the Netflix blurb I was sickened and so worried that the film would focus on the actual assault that sparked the events. I cannot even express how relieved I was that it didn’t. Right up until the meat of the story, I was just about shivering in my seat and waiting for the worst of it.

If you are able to be triggered at all (even if it takes a lot) by the subject of sexual assault or harm to children, this film is going to poke at those triggers. The director tried to take this subject and give it a slightly different treatment. He focused on the family healing after the fact and tried to instill a sense of hope into the story. He focused on the humanity that surrounds the brutality of monsters.

He did succeed, but for me… it was still too much.

I feel ill. I have a history with sexual assault, I was thirteen when something happened to me. As a result, sexual assault will likely always be a trigger, especially when it involves a child. The trial scenes brought me back to a horrible time in my life that I hate reliving on a significant scale.

Hope was phenomenal. As great as this film was, however, I regret ever watching it. It’s going to take hours for my shaking to subside and I’ll likely have some emotional weirdness for the rest of the night.

Cat’s Point of View:
When the dice gave us this movie, I’ll admit I was filled with a significant amount of dread for watching it. I don’t do well with sexual assault themes in general. The fact that the story centers on such a horrific thing happening to a little girl just made me feel ill. It was an act of will for me to keep the movie playing with it evoking such a visceral reaction.

I get it, though.

The film was based on a true story. This unspeakable tragedy happened to a real little girl in December of 2008. If she could live beyond what really happened to her, then I could get over my own sensitivity and empathetic gut-punched feeling and watch this movie based on her story.

All the same, this movie tore me into a million little pieces. Ugly crying happened, I won’t lie.

With a subject matter this heavy and already walking a fine line, I think they handled this film wonderfully. The approach the production took was tasteful and showed the great care that was taken to tell a story of growth, hope, and community impact rather than exploiting the misery.

I really can’t think of anything negative to say. The cast was phenomenal, and yes – the subtitles flowed smoothly and were in contrasting color. I don’t know a word of Korean; so, if there were any discrepancies, I wouldn’t be able to tell you.

My hope is that this film touches hearts and gives courage to victims of assault to find courage to step forward and seek help and healing.

I won’t be watching this wrenching yet heartwarming movie again – but it’s definitely not because of the quality of the film.

Speech Available: Korean
Subtitles Available: English, French, German, Korean, Spanish

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – None
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 86%
Metascore - None
Metacritic User Score – None
IMDB Score – 8.3/10

Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating5/5
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating4.5/5

Trust-the-Dice’s Parental Advisory Rating: R

P.S. Netflix lists the movie under its original title, Hope, but it also goes by So-won and Wish. On IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes, the film is Wish (2013).

P.S. U.S. National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-4673. If you’re from out of country, they may be able to direct you to a hotline in your area.

Movie Trailer:

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