Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Review: Don't Cry Mommy (2012)

Don't Cry Mommy (Review)
Kim Yong-han/Yoo Sun/2012
Where to Watch:
Netflix Streaming
Amazon Prime

"...Don't Cry Mommy may be the film to make you cry."

Recently divorced Yoo-lim (Yoo Sun) lives alone with her only daughter Eun-ah (Nam Bo-ra). All is well and looking up for the pair until Eun-ah is attacked in the most devastating way possible...

Don't Cry Mommy begins by developing the relationship between mother and daughter; this segment is a bit short but efficient. Soon thereafter, Eun-ah is raped by a group of delinquent students, which rightfully devastates the pair. Unfortunately, the criminal justice system sees the vicious criminals as minors and infuriatingly places some of the responsibility on Eun-ah; consequently, the criminals are freed. I'll avoid some spoilers, but the torture continues for Eun-ah well into the second act. The final act of the film becomes a convenient thriller, but still manages to deliver a powerful and emotionally-devastating ending.

Don't Cry Mommy is fantastic for the first two acts of the film. The relationship between mother and daughter is efficiently crafted to create some very powerful moments as the film progresses. The unbelievable actions of the criminals and reactions of the criminal justice system are not sugarcoated, either. This, in turn, makes for some frustrating and infuriating moments; the drama is crafted so well, I was fuming with anger and disbelief, as well sadness and despair. It's genuinely a sad film that gets sadder as it progresses; the emotionally-effective character arc for Yoo-lim is testament for that statement. I love films that really make you feel, and this film accomplishes that. The film overall works perfectly in making a social statement, as well; I think it's an incredibly significant message, too.

Unfortunately, the film does fumble a bit during the final act. The final act becomes a more procedural revenge-thriller, which isn't a bad thing but worth noting. There are a few plot contrivances and a few illogicalities, as well, and I had a few questions regarding Yoo-lim's actions overall. Furthermore, the last 30 minutes or so of the film feel compressed; there seems to be so much going on, including an unexpected twist, but it all feels overwhelming because of how fast its moving, so the impact is minimized. It's kinda moving without direction, just trying to reach the ending. Fortunately, the actual ending offers some redemption for the final act; it may not be the ending you want, but it sure is effective.

Yoo Sun is superb as the lead; she perfectly captures the genuine happiness of motherhood during the introduction, and the pain and agony of the rest of the film. Nam Bo-ra is also fantastic for her entire performance. The music was perfect in setting the mood; the somber tones really had me ready to weep. The film is also shot well. The English subtitles in the Amazon Prime Instant video steam had some grammatical errors, but not nearly enough to hurt the film. Kim Yong-han magnificently crafts the first two acts, but loses some momentum and direction during the final act -- I emphasize some because the third act really isn't as bad as I make it sound.

Overall, much like Silenced, Don't Cry Mommy is a difficult film to watch, but a film well worth watching. It's a very sad and even depressing tearjerker, but it works very well in raising awareness. If you feel numb from the countless blockbusters released every year, Don't Cry Mommy may be the film to make you cry.

Score: 8/10
Parental Guide: Some strong violence and blood. The film features a rape sequence; the sequence is not visually graphic due to distortion of video quality, but the audio may be disturbing for some audiences.

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