|Yeoja, Jeong-hye 2004 South Korea This Charming Girl|
If you were to look up "boring art house film" in some film dictionary you might find the plot synopsis for This Charming Girl listed as the definition: The film follows Jung-hye’s quiet life and reveals the landscape of the character’s inner feelings.
Jung-hye has forged her own life out of simplicity and solitude as the result of some trauma earlier in her life. The film doesn't focus on what that trauma is or how Jung-hye may eventually resolve it. Instead, it focuses on the mundane life she has made for herself as a result. We watch her feed her cat, cook herself meals, go to a job at an uneventful workplace. This is not an action movie. It's an extremely slow burn that leads to one very intense scene which involves a knife. It's an intense scene not because anything crazy happens but because we can see all of the repressed emotions inside this woman come boiling to the top. And we can see this happening because Kim Ji-Su's performance is nothing short of phenomenal.
No use going into more detail about the events of the film. It's better to see them for yourself. If you like well-written, well-acted, meticulously directed character studies This Charming Girl is one of the best ones out there. Even though it is art house to the max, there isn't a pretentious moment in the film.
Summary: In her mid-twenties, Jeong-hae is a postal worker who lives a monotonous daily routine. She is kind, detached, and delicate, and accepts being cut off from the outside world as natural. When she takes in a stray cat she happens to remember things about her mother, and when an aspiring writer who comes to the post office expresses interest in her, her unexplained peacefulness is shaken, and hidden trauma begins to make its way to the surface of her emotions.