Friday, July 4, 2014

Review: A Brand New Life (2009)

A Brand New Life (Review)
Ounie Lecomte/Kim Sae-ron/2009
Where to Watch:
Netflix Streaming
Amazon Prime

"...it's perfect for those who love to feel during films."

Jin-hee (Kim Sae-ron), a 9-year-old girl, is left at an orphanage by her father and must face her sad reality.

A Brand New Life is simple yet effective. The story begins with Jin-hee spending some quality time with her father. Soon afterward, she's abandoned at an orphanage. From there on, Jin-hee struggles to accept reality and make friends. She sees some light, but an equal amount of setbacks -- setbacks for herself as well as the other residents of the orphanage. The ending of the film offers a glimmer of hope, though -- not a shining beacon or even an in-depth ending, but it's something.

A Brand New Life is a very effective story. It's a very sad film loosely inspired by true events, which adds a bit to the overall effectiveness of the story. Most of the time Jin-hee struggles to cope with abandonment, and if that's not enough, so do some of the other orphans. In other words, it's drenched in sorrow for most of its runtime. Although it's effective, it is also somewhat repetitive and even a little hollow. We get to see how Jin-hee feels, but we get very little back story. However, the short runtime is very forgiving and the pacing is very consistent -- it doesn't slow down or speed up, it just keeps moving.

Kim Sae-ron, of The Man From Nowhere, delivers a magnificent performance -- she's so sweet and adorable during the introduction, it really hurts to see her in pain for the rest of the film. In fact, the bulk of the cast, which consists of children, are fantastic. There isn't much music in the film, but I enjoyed its somber tones whenever it played, particularly during the credits. The English subtitles in the Amazon Prime Instant Video stream are great -- didn't notice any issues. Writer and director Ounie Lecomte pulls a wonderful performance from Kim Sae-ron and crafts a very emotional tale; it leaves some character depth to be desired, but it ultimately works in breaking your heart.

Overall, A Brand New Life is a great film. It's a terrific film to get your emotions moving. It's the type of film that makes it difficult to swallow that lump in your throat or hold back your tears. It may be too sad for some audiences, but it's perfect for those who love to feel during films.

Score: 8/10
Parental Guide: It's a sad and even depressing subject, but it's generally an appropriate film for most audiences.

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