Poetry (2010)
"Shi" (original title)

Unrated  |   |  Drama  |  11 February 2011 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 6,522 users   Metascore: 89/100
Reviews: 33 user | 141 critic | 19 from Metacritic.com

A sixty-something woman, faced with the discovery of a heinous family crime and in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease, finds strength and purpose when she enrolls in a poetry class.



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Credited cast:
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Kibum's father
Myeong-shin Park ...
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Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Yong-taek Kim


A sixty-something woman, faced with the discovery of a heinous family crime and in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease, finds strength and purpose when she enrolls in a poetry class.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




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Release Date:

11 February 2011 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Poetry  »

Box Office


KRW 1,300,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$18,900 (USA) (11 February 2011)


$355,044 (USA) (12 August 2011)

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Filming started in August 25, 2009 and ended three months later in Gyeonggi Province and Gangwon Province. Lee was initially worried that Yun's long experience might have bound her to an outdated acting style, but was very pleased with her attitude, saying, "She performed her scenes with a willingness to discuss and this is something that's difficult to find even in younger actors." See more »


Featured in Ebert Presents: At the Movies: Episode #1.21 (2011) See more »

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User Reviews

Real, revealing, moving, interesting...what else can you ask for?
15 September 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Poetry (2010)

Steady and stealthy, this film proposes to be as lyrical and compact as a poem, but then it keeps going and ends up larger and more impressive than you'd expect. And the acting by leading female actress, the Korean star Jeong-hie Yun, is startling and nuanced, a great performance.

At the heart of the plot are two plots. The first is the title line—elderly Mija has decided to learn how to write poetry, so she attends a class (filled with younger students). The second is about a sex crime—a gang rape it turns out—by her grandson, who she is raising alone. The two are nearly opposites in so many ways we see how life itself balances the beautiful and ugly, and responsibility and indifference. In a larger way, "Poetry" is about contemporary life in Korea, and the interactions of ordinary people in extreme situations will be revealing to many outside of Korea.

It's hard to overstate how well this movie pulls off something socially serious and yet makes it all understated and almost matter of fact. There are these several lines of thought that keep going throughout, and that don't quite converge until the very end, which is both tragic (truly) and a bit mysterious. What exactly is the implication of that last scene on the bridge, and the water that shows nothing? It hearkens to the beginning, of course, but we have our main character at hand.

In that sense, it's a brilliant, almost perfect evocation of contemporary Korea on the most normal, middle class level. Lovely and loving, and cold and brutal. And it shows the glib sexism of the men there, much like everywhere at various times. And how to survive you sometimes have to just proceed. And then, of course, sometimes you do not survive.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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