A tour de force of schoolgirl politics
5 May 2017
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This movie is about a 10 year-old girl named Sun, who we soon realize is an outcast at school. The opening sequence establishes this fact, because the kids are playing a game but do their best to prevent Sun from partaking and enjoying herself. Then comes summer vacation, when Sun meets a girl named Jia, who is new in town. During the summer months, these girls hang out together a lot and become best friends. They organize sleep-overs, play at the park, and all of the good things about childhood friendship. However, when the new semester starts, Jia notices the conflicts between Sun and the other kids, meaning that she needs to find her place within the relationship dynamics at school – and that places significant stress on her friendship with Sun.

The first thing you notice about this movie, is that the performances from all of the kids are outstanding. This is right up there with "A Brand New Life" from 2009 and "When I Turned Nine" from 2004 in terms of all-time great child performances in South Korean cinema. This is especially true regarding the lead actress Soo-in Choi, who is simply phenomenal. She does such a good job reacting to everything that is happening around her. This is actually her debut role, and I really hope that her career takes off and that we get many more films with her in the future.

Overall, "The World of Us" is a tour de force for schoolgirl politics in film. This focuses a lot on realistic interaction between the characters and is successful at showcasing the quiet intensity of these girls' relationships that also ebb and flow depending on the situation and who has the "leverage" over others. Some of the girls are mean-spirited, while others are pressured into becoming someone they are not. It really is a fascinating and complex depiction of childhood conflict and friendship.

"The World of Us" is not yet available on DVD, per my knowledge. I saw this on a plane flight to Japan. But if and when it does become available, make sure you check this out. It's an outstanding film.
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