Please Teach Me English

As some of you may be aware of, Korean cinema is beginning to take note of the growing numbers of Korean Adoptees searching for their roots.  Daniel Henney’s new movie (which I have yet to see) recently starred in the Korean film “My Father” (2007) as a Korean adoptee returning to Korea in search of his birth father.

Last night I saw “Please Teach Me English,” another Korean movie about a young government clerk who meets a man in her English class who is searching for his sister who was put up for adoption and lives in NY.  (POTENTIAL MOVIE SPOILERS AHEAD)

While the movie is cute in the usual Korean cinema sort of way, the adoption concept and casting I found to be a bit poor.  The girl who plays the adoptee is almost expressionless when she first meets her birth mother in the film.  In fact she almost casually introduces herself to her birth mother without any emotion, “Mother?  Hi my name is Victoria it’s good to see you.”  (or something to that extent).  The actress who plays the mother however seemed to get the role a little better.

I think in many ways the interactions in this family embodies the shame that some Koreans have felt about adoptees who now call their home in countries such as the US.  It’s an attitude that we all know is slowly changing, as domestic adoption becomes more socially acceptable, but is still fairly common today.

Although the adoption theme doesn’t necessarily consume the entire movie, it is proof that the stories of Korean adoptees are not absent in the mind of the Korean general public.  It’s around two hours, and carries the same themes, and plot as most Korean lovestories, but it’s nice to see one more film giving adoptees a nod of legitimacy.  I’d give it three and a half to four stars as a whole.

If you know of another Korean movie with an adoptee character or theme to it let me know, I’d be interested to know what you think.  GS

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