Film Review: Ajoomma (2022) by He Shuming

Billed as the initial official Singapore-Korean co-production, “Ajoomma” is made by Giraffe Images founder Anthony Chen (Wet Season, Ilo Ilo) and co-made by Korea’s Lee Joonhan. It was mainly shot in Korea and had help from the Singapore Film Commission, the Korean Film Council and Seoul Film Commission. Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival announced that the film has 4 nominations for this year’s Awards: Greatest Original Screenplay (He Shuming, Kris Ong), Greatest New Director (He Shuming), Greatest Supporting Actor (Jung Dong-hwan) and Greatest Major Actress (Hong Huifang)

Ajooma is screening at Busan International Film Festival

A Singaporean auntie (“ajoomma” in Korean language) has spent the majority of her life giving for her household, but now finds herself basically alone, as she lives with her estranged son, who does not appear especially eager to commit time with her. Her only pleasure in life is watching K-dramas on Television, clumsily imitating the dialogues and imagining a Korea that is precisely as the 1 shown on the screen. It is this notion that leads her to book a tour for her and her son in Korea for holidays, but at the final minute, the young man bails on her, due to a job interview abroad. In a choice that surprises even her, the Auntie, also for the reason that she can not get a refund for the trip, decides to go alone, leaving Singapore for the initial time in her life, even imagining that her son will at some point join her.&nbsp

Her trip, nonetheless, as considerably as Korea, is nothing at all like she believed it was, and the issues begin from the starting. She is late arriving at the airport, Kwon-woo, her tour guide, proves a rather problematic person whose life is in shambles, she gets drunk on the initial evening, and quickly soon after she gets lost and even involved in a violent incident. Jung-su, an elderly safety officer, supplies some comfort as considerably as organization in the roller coaster of events that adhere to. 

Films that concentrate on “aunties” are not precisely the rule in the market, but He Shuming and his co-writer, Kris Ong have made a rather attractive story, which utilizes the life of a 50+ old lady in order to make a quantity of fascinating comments. The initial 1 includes the idea of people today finding out of their comfort zone, and the rewards such endeavors can present. The optimistic side, nonetheless, is only revealed towards the finish, with He displaying how tricky, virtually, such choices can be, especially for people today of the protagonist’s age, who have spent their lives basically indoors. This realism essentially permeates a big element of the film, with He pulling no punches in presenting Ajoomma finding drunk for instance, or getting totally unrealistic in her expectations of Korea. 

The second comment, which derives from the way the story unfolds and from the initial comment, is that friendship and companionship can be located in the most unexpected locations, which is basically what tends to make finding out of one’s comfort zone worthwhile. The way the 3 protagonists, Ajoomma, Jung-su and Kwon-woo come with each other and adjust by way of their interactions, highlight this aspect, in a somewhat romanticized but also rather attractive idea. This element also rewards the most by the acting, with Hong Huifang stealing the show as Auntie, but also sharing excellent chemistry with Jung Dong-hwan as Jung Su and Kang Hyung-seok as Kwon-woo, with the latter also getting the most important supply of drama in the film.&nbsp

Apart from drama, even though, He also has incorporated a mixture of humor and action, even adding a rather unexpected auto chase scene, that undoubtedly adds to the entertainment the film gives. The scene close to the finish, exactly where Yeo Jin-goo and Auntie lastly come with each other is the apogee of this aspect, in 1 of the most memorable scenes in the film. The action scenes are also exactly where Hwang Gyeong-hyeon’s cinematography is at its finest, in an otherwise focused-on-realism, without having any exaltations, perform. The job accomplished in the editing is also rather great, with the modifications in pace, from slow to rapid, also adding the entertainment presented right here. A single could also say that there is a slight promotional aspect concerning S. Korea and its people today, but Kwon-woo’s arc tones it down, basically by moving into a entirely opposite path. 

“Ajoomma” is a pretty heart-warming film, rather uncomplicated to watch, and 1 that manages to stay entertaining all through, even attaining that by way of a protagonist whose age deemed such a feat rather tricky.&nbsp



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