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Joshua Michael Stern
Sophie Lee has been trying unsuccessfully to get pregnant. Her husband's family, devout Korean Catholics, prays for the couple. His failure to have a child is deeply shameful to him, so when he attempts suicide, Sophie tries something extreme: she follows an undocumented immigrant - a Korean who resembles her husband - from a fertility clinic to his apartment in New York City where she proposes to hire him to sire her child. She offers $300 per session and $30,000 if she gets pregnant. After several sessions, neither is able to keep emotion out of the arrangement. Where can this relationship go, and what about her husband? Will her actions save him and their marriage? Written by
there's an elephant in the room, but it's of our own making
I really, really admire Vera Farmiga for taking on this project. How can you not? Allow me to explain.
If you can suspend logical disbelief while watching this film, you will be swept away. The movie had a quiet and patient, but very powerful undercurrent.
It deals so nonchalantly with something that is so uncommon in movies nowadays, that I have to make mention of it. An Asian male in honest and open sex scenes with a white female. The real achievement here is that this movie avoids the race issue altogether. The director does not turn it into some kind of elephant in the room. No, it is an elephant of our own Western making, is it not? Was anyone else shocked to see love portrayed this way, where it is truly is shown as universal, not just possible between chosen ethnic pairings? The movie did not treat it like a big deal at all. The white girl - Asian guy couples I've met in real life don't treat it like a big deal either. I believe this ethnic pairing - currently, perhaps the only interracial pairing that actually occurs less frequently in Western movies than it does in real life - will become more commonplace as the Asian cinema industry matures, as the West becomes ever-increasingly comfortable with the East, as both sides evolve towards the human average, and there are more Asian actors from which to choose.
Now that aside, let's get back to the film itself, because it is more than capable of standing proudly on its own feet without its groundbreaking nonchalant attitude towards race.
Tremendous acting, especially from Ms. Farmiga and Jung-woo Ha, the "homewrecker." The amount of emotion that these two are able to convey in nonverbal moments is truly stunning. You will be moved.
The set designs and cinematography, in addition to the beautiful actors themselves, are a visual feast - a real aesthetic treat.
The sex scenes were very tasteful and well-done. As the relationship develops, so clearly does the depth and honesty of their physical relations, to the point where Farmiga's character is able to climax by simply daydreaming about her lover.
You may know the entire plot line to this movie already, and you will still have an A+ experience watching how it was executed.
I loved this film. It defied almost all my expectations, and will probably watch it several times over the course of my life. I would recommend that anyone who decides to watch this film, too, find within themselves a fraction of Vera Farmiga's open-mindedness, boldness, and vision when she took on this project.
A standing ovation for her.
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