Monday, October 19, 2015

Take Care of My Cat

2001's Take Care of My Cat is one of those movies that doesn't sound like it'd be extraordinary, but it is. It's about a group of 5 young women in South Korea, just out of high school, and how they grow, work, and basically how they handle the world at such a transformative age. It has no love story, but contains characters that I want to see more of. It's just under 2 hours long, and that times flies by. Coming-of-age movies are one of my favorite genres, and this is right at or near the top of the heap.

The friends, as can happen in school and sadly not so much later in life, are all of differing social classes, and may even sound like clich├ęs, even though they're not. There's the rich girl Hae-joo (Lee Yo-won), the poor girl Ji-young (Ok Ji-young), the dreamer Tae-hee (played by the amazing Doona Bae, from The Host and Cloud Atlas), and the twin sisters Bi-ryu and Ohn-jo (Lee Eun-shil and Lee Eun-jo). The sisters get the short stick, development wise, but the other three are really wonderfully drawn and played by the actresses. They grow and change and develop in perfectly believable ways, never a false note or false drama, though there were many times it could've gone that way. It's a great trio of leads, even though I can't quite put my finger on why it's so good.

And that's kind of the whole thing about the movie. Writer/director Jeong Jae-eun has crafted a startling movie that has nothing startling in it, really. It's just SO good. The music is impeccable, the framing of the shots, the cinematography, everything is top notch. I want to see this movie over and over again throughout my life. I know it's going to be one of those that really stays with me. Which is a remarkable thing to say about the movie because what do I know or can relate to about being a 20-ish Korean girl? Nothing whatsoever. Yet I was moved by these actresses and their story. Jeong has created herself a truly amazing movie that plays on us like music. We may not be able to articulate what makes it special, it just is.