The elderly have been an fascinating speaking point for Asian cinema this year. Chie Hayakawa’s “Plan 75” shocked Cannes Film Festival with a bleak and shocking vision to resolve the difficulty of Japan’s quickly ageing population. Director Lee Quickly-sung requires a a great deal brighter and cheerful method to the topic in “My Ideal Roommate”, his debut function.
Geum-boon is a 70-year-old lady who has constantly lived alone, with no household to contact her personal. Ji-woong is a university student who is a typical component-timer, performing any job he can to make and save income. As component of the government’s Saving Rent Project with Elderly Living Alone Programme, the two discover themselves obtaining to reside collectively, which is an adjustment for each. Geum-boon abruptly finds herself obtaining to adapt to obtaining an individual else in her domicile. She is not the easiest individual to reside with, a grumpy old lady who has one particular rule also several for Ji-woong, who is not even permitted to poop in the residence or bring about guests of any sort. This is in particular inconveniencing as one particular of Ji-woong’s favourite component-time jobs is as a dog-sitter. Gradually but certainly, as the feature’s title would recommend, the two commence to warm up to every single other and to every single other’s positives and negatives.
Obtaining began in the market as a boom operator years ago and proceeding to make a profession as a genuine-time recordist,  Lee Quickly-sung tends to make a move behind the camera with “My Ideal Roommate”, functioning off his personal script, which tackles a quantity of themes in its brisk 91 minutes runtime. Foremost, it is an ode to the elderly and their plight, obtaining to reside alone and without having a great deal help from their busy and self-occupied households. Their mates, who discover themselves in comparable plights, are the closest they get to a household, likely precisely simply because they are in the identical boat. Loneliness is a continual subject of the narrative, not limiting itself to just the elderly, with the young Ji-woong also feeling alone. In spite of obtaining mates and a healthful social life, he feels unable to open himself up to his mates, acquiring solace only with the men and women who grew up in the identical situations as him. As a outcome, seeing each Geum-boon and Ji-woong warm up to every single other is pleasing and virtually heart-warming.
The script also touches upon the topic of the upbringing of an person. In a filial society such as South Korea’s, exactly where a lot of emphasis is placed on the way parents raise their young children, orphans are usually treated with disdain and a particular prejudice. Lee argues that it is not just to the parents’ credit how a youngster turns out to be as an adult. Applying Ji-woong and the subplot of his mates, he shows how orphans develop up by themselves and make their personal destiny, displaying each sides of that coin and determines that it depends pretty a great deal on the person as nicely to be a far better individual in society. Briefly he also talks about mortality and the need to have to reside on, alone if essential but far better if with an individual, a subject that could have been performed with far more exposition, and on the significance of household.
This would have been a a great deal lesser function had it not been for the presence of loveable veteran actress Na Moon-hee, who virtually carries the film on her two aged but nonetheless sturdy shoulders. In her capable hands, the grumpy grandma also proves to be pretty likeable and motherly, as Ji-woong quickly finds out. Oozing pure grandma power, you just want her to give you a hug, so when she ultimately does give Ji-woong one particular, you can not assist but really feel a pang of jealousy towards Choi Woo-sung’s character. Generating his initially large screen look soon after taking component in a handful of television dramas, Choi is sufficient as the college boy, but feels a bit wet behind the ears, one thing that he could possibly be in a position to rectify with far more function film appearances. He does play nicely alongside Na Moon-hee although, who requires great care of her young co-star. She has played this function of a grumpy ajhumma a handful of instances now, but just like Ma Dong-seok’s hardman act, it is one particular that you can’t tire of seeing.
Maintaining an equally vibrant and cheerful appear with Choi Min-hwan’s cinematography, “My Ideal Roommate” is not necessarily ground-breaking cinema, but it has a clear story to inform which it manages to place across efficiently, and, bolstered by a fine efficiency from its lead actress, ends up becoming a cute function that is a pleasant watch.