5.8/10
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6 user 21 critic

Spa Night (2016)

Unrated | | Drama | 24 January 2016 (USA)
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A closeted Korean-American teenager takes a job at a Korean spa to help his struggling family, only to discover an underground world of gay sex at the spa that both scares and excites him.

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5 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
David Cho
Youn Ho Cho ...
Jin Cho
...
Soyoung Cho
...
Young Korean Man (as Christopher Park)
...
Luis
Il Ahn ...
Mr. Shim
Linda Han ...
Mrs. Baek
...
Academy Director
...
Eddie Baek
...
Esther Kang
...
Grace
Janice Pak ...
Stella
Eric Jeong ...
Peter
...
Korean Counter Woman
...
Mrs. Kim

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Storyline

Los Angeles' Korean spas serve as meeting place and bridge between past and future for generations of immigrant families; Spa Night explores one Korean-American family's dreams and realities as each struggles with the overlap of personal desire, disillusionment, and sense of tradition. Written by Spa Night Movie

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Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Unrated
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Release Date:

24 January 2016 (USA)  »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$7,056 (USA) (19 August 2016)

Gross:

$38,578 (USA) (2 December 2016)
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Company Credits

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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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User Reviews

 
Delicate, well made but almost too understated coming of age tale
25 February 2017 | by (US) – See all my reviews

Beautifully shot and very well made on a truly micro budget, this story of a gay 2nd generation teen Korean coming of age in Los Angeles gains from it's intelligent production, attention to detail and unusual cultural setting, but also loses something in it's extremely familiar basic story of adolescence as well as in being so cold in it's lead actor's effect-less nature and the character's almost wordless personality. Add that with the film's distanced style and there ultimately is more to admire here than to be deeply emotionally engaged in. It's also not helpful that while Joe Seo underplays right to the edge of disappearing as David, our protagonist, some in supporting roles overplay to the point of near caricature. Neither extreme might have felt off putting in a film where the acting was more of a piece. But having the two styles next to each other was too often a reminder I was watching a film played by actors, not real human beings. Also, while I have no idea how old Joe Seo is, he looks far older than the high-school student he's supposed to be, which also took something away from feeling for the character's youthful confusion and ennui.

None-the-less, for all that carping I'm very glad I saw the film, and in Ahn's delicate use of imagery there were a good number of poetic moments that captured the painful and joyful confusion of finding one's adult self starting to emerge, even when that self puts you on a cultural collision course with your both your parents and your community.

If not the best coming of age film of recent years, it's at least a worthy addition to that admittedly overcrowded genre.


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