DON’ T CRY MOMMY : KOREAN MOVIE DEPICTS PRESSING NATIONAL ISSUES

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The movie “Don’t Cry Mommy” is a revenge story with a twist as well as a message. It is an outspoken depiction of the national issues on high school sexual violence that has plagued the nation in the recent past.  Based on various true cases, “Don’t Cry Mommy” stars celebrated Korean actress Yoo Sun and young icons Nam Bo-ra and Dong-Ho (U-Kiss) about a teenage girl whose first crush turns into a gang-rape nightmare that triggers her suicide, prompting her grieving mother to take vengeance into her own hands. 

The movie starts with recently divorced Yoo-lim, played by Yoo Sun,  and her daughter, Eun-Ah, played by Nam Bo-ra living a fairly normal life, at least by movie standards. The mother is seen to be relatively successful and her daughter is a talented, and education focused high schooler. We are really introduced to Eun-ah when she becomes infatuated with a classmate, Jo-han, played byShin Dong-ho. It’s a pretty normal thing for young people go through, and the movie lulls you into a comfortable mood. The mother and daughter are close and their bond is touching, especially in the wake of what alludes to be a not so clean divorce. The focus is quickly captured by Eun-ah when she goes through a brutal rape by Jo-han, and a group of classmates. Yoo-lim is horrified by the crime and is quick to have the criminals arrested. The actual prosecution is brief, but is overlayed with the many hurdles victims must go through for justice. ImageImageImage

It is after the case that the film becomes quite enlightening. The entire situation of getting justice for the victim is constantly skewed by the idea that the victim is to blame herself, and that it is a case of “boys being boys.” The parents blame Eun-ah for trying to ruin their sons’ reputations, while others try to buy off Yoo-lim from pursuing the crime at all, even after the case is “settled.” Only Yoo-lim and Eun-ah are seen to feel the true after affects of the crime. We see Eun-ah true from a cheerful and hopeful child, to a depressed and fearful victim of abuse. Seeing the transition is one of the most heart breaking parts of the movie. The entire time it happens, Yoo-lim tries to reach out to her daughter and you can almost feel her helplessness as her daughter is left to essential suffer alone. Yoo-lim becomes obsessive with getting retribution for her daughter in the face of a criminal system that is ignorant of the true extent of sexual assault and the harm is does to not just the victim, but the family. The punishment is minimal while Eun-Ah is forced to relive the situation when threatened with video evidence of her attack. What should be evidence for justice is simply turned into a tool of shame and embarrassment for the victim.

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“Don’t Cry Mommy” is a great way to start dialogue about the issues surrounding sexual assault as more than just a headline. It seeks to give a voice for the victims of the crimes who are often pigeon-holed as “asking for it” or in some way responsible. If you enjoy a movie that leaves you wanting to take action, or even reflect, I recommend it. While the acting is not the most polished, it is still a story that needed to be told.

                 Filming the controversial drama thriller “Don’t Cry Mommy” was an emotional roller coaster for Korean actress Yoo Sun. “There are so many emotional scenes in the movie and sometimes, I would be filming emotional scenes all day long, until dawn.  It was very tiring but I had to keep myself emotionally charged for those scenes,” relates Yoo Sun.

                The movie outgrossed other foreign films such as “Wolf Boy” and “Breaking Dawn 2” when it opened in Korea and was initially rated for adult viewing but has eventually opened to be 

“Don’t Cry Mommy” opens November 13 in cinemas from Axinite Digicinema.

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