Oasis (2002) Poster

(2002)

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9/10
An amazing human story - insightfully illustrating how 'wrong' our points of view can be as we take things for granted, going about our daily lives, assuming we are (always) right. Truly an eye-opening film
ruby_fff3 July 2004
I rated "Oasis" as a MUST SEE. Yes, it may be difficult to watch all those cerebral palsy twitching scenes, but focusing on the heart of the story, you shall appreciate as the story unfolds. It's an intriguing human drama needed to be told - to rouse the malaise and complacency of society. We are so prone to being judgmental of others, taking things for granted - we are actually quite full of it ourselves, thinking we are 'normal' while others - those who seem to us acting not to the 'norm' we see or feel, are labeled as 'queers' or 'misfits'. We can be so callous and literally 'blind' - not taking the time to pause, step back and see beyond the faces or empathize the possible feelings or needs liken to ourselves.

Korean writer-director Lee Chang-dong's insightful film "Oasis" (2002), sensitively and sensibly gave us a chance to see the true state of being and what's possible between two persons that are socially shunned and dismissed as 'non-entity' to the everyday world we live in. Yet to Sol Kyung-gu's Jong-du (the "General") and Moon So-ri's Gong-ju (the "Princess" Your Highness), they created a world that they mutually shared - alone and together, unbeknownst to the community outside of their energized circle. The two of them are self-sufficient, contented within, appreciating every minute of being alive, gently nurturing and genuinely enjoying each other's company.

The two main actors delivered poignant performances of their characters. The writing by director Lee essentially facilitated the core drama. Actress Moon's portrayal of her character is astounding - brings to mind Daniel Day-Lewis' gut-wrenching performance in Jim Sheridan's "My Left Foot" (1989). Director Lee cleverly introduced segments where we see Moon's Gong-ju standing up, dancing around, singing and smiling in a non-spastic state. Such imagination is at once endearing and poetic, allowing us relief and pauses to entertain such thoughts along with her. Sol is just as amazing - beguilingly effortless in his portrayal of a simple-minded man (childlike if you will) yet entangled complexity reveals as family 'secrets' are picked up through the translations (thanks to subtitles by Tony Rayns - certainly provided clues to verbal interactions and plot progression). One wonders if Jong-du's three prior charges were somehow family 'endowed', conveniently using him since he doesn't care much one way or the other. Simple-minded he may be, uncomplicated by guilt, he is basically a kind-hearted and caring person. Subtle and simplistic, it takes talent and restraint to deliver this character, and Sol brilliantly complements Moon's Gong-ju. An unnerving powerful pairing.

There are sprinkled humor and we would smile and be just as delighted as the two of them. We get to see more clearly than the other people in the story: family members, neighbors, restaurant owners/customers, policemen/detectives. We feel the frustration when Gong-ju tried to express her side of the story - conveniently dismissed as part of her twitching agony. We worry for Jong-du when he doesn't speak up - then again who in the society's mind would believe a 'misfit'. We felt the helplessness - yet Lee ingeniously provided a logical and satisfying plot turn, even if it takes yielding to imagination - but why ever not (it could very well be providential). Perhaps we can learn a thing or two from the two lovebirds: they are simple and content with themselves (without 'guilt' complex), gutsy and confident in their own way of communicating to each other (with exclusive personal word references) and clarity of purpose in the deeds they do (be it turning up the radio or being high up on a tree). They are happy in spite of what happens - knowing each would continue on with bright hopes and tender loving for each other in their hearts.

This is a worthwhile film embracing humanity. Life's too short to expend energy on being angry at others. It's human to make mistakes. If we gripe less and focus on the positive, reciprocate respect and kindness to each other, take the time to appreciate this world we live in - 'oases' we'd be in.
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9/10
What love truly means
howard.schumann10 May 2004
We talk a lot about love in our society but often love is only acceptable to us if it fits our pictures. For example, the love of an older person for a younger, love between members of the same sex or between disabled individuals may make us uncomfortable and rejecting. Winner of five awards at the 2002 Venice Film Festival, Oasis, a film by Lee Chang-dong, stretches our comfort zone to the limit with a boldly unconventional portrait of the love of a mentally retarded young man for a woman suffering with cerebral palsy. The film is both emotionally honest and powerfully realized and will keep you pondering its implications for a long time. Moon So-ri's performance as Gong-ju is nothing short of astonishing. She goes through contortions to make us aware of the agony of her illness, but is never inappropriate or over-the-top. Her movements are spasmodic and uncoordinated and she appears to be in constant pain but there is a kindness in her face that allows us to see the person behind the pain.

As the film opens, Jong-du (Sol Kyung-gu) has just been released from prison and is freezing in his short sleeve shirt in the middle of winter. Jong-du is a sociopath who flaunts society's rules, unaware of or unconcerned with the consequences of his actions. Unable to hold a job and always on the edge, he has been in jail three times: for attempted rape, causing an accident while drunk (he took the rap for his elder brother), and armed robbery. On the spur of the moment, he decides to visit the family of the man killed by his brother and apologize. When he arrives, he finds a husband and wife moving out of their apartment, leaving the husband's seriously disabled sister, Han Gong-ju (Moon So-ri) for the neighbors to look after.

Jong-du is attracted to the disabled woman who seems barely in control of her own body. He returns for another visit but it sadly ends up in a disturbing sequence that is very difficult to watch. Surprisingly, Gong-ju invites him back once more and the two slowly begin a friendship based on their mutual feelings of isolation. He provides her with the closeness she desperately needs and she finds someone to care for, maybe for the first time in her life. As their relationship becomes known, both families are scandalized and, aided by the prejudices of society, transform the innocence of their love into something sick and twisted.

Oasis is a thought provoking film that does not stack the deck towards one point of view. It depicts the joy that the relationship brings to the lovers but also shows the understandable unease of the families about the fitness of a man who has demonstrated his emotional instability. The film shows the thin line between the desires of the individual and the needs of society and forces us to look at the disparity between the reality we see and that seen by others. While his ultimate message may be ambiguous, Lee makes us brutally aware that for many people life is a party to which they haven't been invited. Out of a willingness to have his characters confront the truth of a world that will be forever hostile, he offers a compelling vision of what love truly means and allows us to experience the oneness that defies reason and logic.
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9/10
Destruction of love
Killer-408 November 2002
At the beginning of the "L'Abri"-screening (which I discuss somewhere else) at the film market MIFED in Milano, CJ Entertainment's young sales responsible asked me: "Which Korean films have you bought?" - "All of them", I answered, to make a point: Korean's movies were just unbeatable in 2002. Then I confessed that I was actually a journalist, not a buyer. The young man surprised me with another question: "Did you cry at the end of 'The Way Home'?" - "No", I said, thinking of my grandmother, "actually I cried at the end of OASIS."

Movies should move viewers. No hight tech genre film can beat what goes straight to your heart. The love of a naive, warmhearted fool (Sol Kyung-gu as Jong-du) to a spasmic beauty (Moon So-ri as Gong-ju) that is unable to walk and clearly articulate herself is attacked by both of their families. It could be considered a love between handicapped and thus underline the demand for a change of law which seems to have its flaws in Korea as well as here in Germany. Prohibited is the unthinkable, i.e. the sexual demands of those who are stigmatised to not have them. The sad outcome of the events is lightened by the unchangeable affection of the male protagonist. Feminists might argue against the easy way in which the attempt to rape the spasmic woman turns into mutual love. The real challenge for the excellent actress Moon So-ri was indeed to transmit whether we see joy or pain in her wincing mimic. Have you ever asked yourself how a person suffering from cerebral palsy would look during orgasm? See for yourself. The elegant camera moves from the common theme of the movie to dreamlike scenes where all of Gong-jus illness is gone. Her dancing with a young elephant had the same non-intellectual humor as the tree-cutting of Jong-du. When the lights go on in your theatre, you might ask yourself how deeply YOU are able to love.
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Fabulous Acting by Two Tremendous Leads
scifinerdgrl28 April 2003
The premise of this story challenges both of its romantic leads to use their bodies to convey the characters' emotions. Jong-du, played by Sol Kyung-gu, is an awkward ex-con whose older brother calls him immature but he seems a little crazy, or maybe mentally deficient. His family reluctantly helps him out, but he is an embarrassment and a nuisance to them.

Gong-ju (Moon So-ri) is a woman with cerebral palsy whose family is just as bad as Jong-du's. When Jong-du begins to visit her an odd relationship develops, with each bringing the other an acceptance and appreciation neither has felt before.

Moon So-ri's performance is so convincing I actually thought she had c.p. until a fantasy sequence showed what Gong-ju imagined herself doing if she were not disabled. But it's not just the contortions of c.p. that she portrays. She manages to show every possible emotion within the confines of c.p. spasms and she brings the character to life with a fully developed range of emotions and intellect.

Sol Kyung-gu's body language is just as effective, though his performance is easily overshadowed by Moon So-ri's. He is by turns menacing, sweet, dim-witted, shy, playful, inconsiderate and contrite, and most of this comes out through his body language.

I saw this movie with English subtitles, but the acting is so effective that you almost don't need to read them.

p.s. keep three hankies handy
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10/10
Masterwork from Lee Chang-Dong
vvanpo12 June 2003
"Oasis" is the story of the relationship of a man imprisoned by his mind with a woman imprisoned by her body. That they establish a relationship comes as much because of their handicaps as in spite of them.

I knew before seeing the film that Moon So-ri was an able-bodied actress. As a result, at first I wasn't convinced she was playing someone with cerebral palsy. But Lee Chang-dong does a brilliant thing. He films several scenes that become the imaginings and fantasies of Gong-ju, Moon's character, as an able-bodied woman. This had the effect on me of seeing Gong-ju as disabled. And it spells out clearly that cerebral palsy is a physical condition not a mental one.

Sol Kyung-gu as Jong-du is perfect. I've been describing Jong-du as "simple-minded" to others but that doesn't pinpoint his mental condition. I might say he is carefree but it's not just an attitude; he is carefree to the point of mental illness. His condition makes him act both bad (he's been in prison three times) and good (he absolutely sees right through Gong-ju's handicap and truly comes to care for her). While Gong-ju is frustrated over her condition and how others use her it, Jong-du appears so utterly accepting of his fate that he doesn't even defend himself. I can't stop thinking about how Mr. Sol has played this interesting character.

Both Gong-ju's and Jong-du's families scorn and pity their conditions. But watch how they also come to exploit them as well.

I highly recommend this film.
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10/10
Another masterpiece by Lee Chang-Dong
mitsounob21 February 2004
The director had been known in Korea as a novelist before he started to make films. That must be the reason why his films give us always the impression that they are deeply literary much more than cinematic.

"Oasis" is a very literary film like his other films, but it also gives us the specific pleasure to watch movies by the imaginary scenes dreamed by a handicapped woman named Gong-ju, for instance. These scenes are sentimental, but they are incredibly beautiful and delicate (these pigeons and butterflies flying in her room, for example). And the scene where Gong-ju sings a song to another protagonist Jong-du must be one of the most beautiful scenes of "confession of love" ever depicted by a film. That is the moment, I am sure, when this film takes suddenly on the features of something sacred.

The director says this is a film about "border" as well as "communication." And in order to show the difficulty of communication and/or of going across the border, he tried to make Jong-du an abominable and disgusting person, especially at the beginning of the film. If you feel uncomfortable when you start to watch this film, you should consider that such discomfort was intentional even though the behaviors by Jong-du seem to be extremely violent and selfish. And you should also be patient until the "miraculous" moment of the "mutation" (from vulgarity to holiness) comes. You will certainly forget about the discomfort you had felt.

And this is naturally a film about Love. It shows us just "one of" the forms of love, should I probably say, since the one shown in this film is too special and peculiar, but still I am tempted to say: "This is the Love."

I though of "The Legend of St. Julian Hospitator" by Gustave Flaubert, but I do not know if I should expect that the protagonists would be called under the name of the "saints" or so. And I also remembered the heroine Sarah of "The End of the Affair" by Graham Greene. Sarah writes in her diary, thinking of her lover named Maurice, with whom she had decided not to meet again because of the promise with God: "I'm not at peace any more. I just want him like I used to in the old days. I want to be eating sandwiches with him. I want to be drinking with him in a bar. I'm tired and I don't want any more pain. I want Maurice. I want ordinary corrupt human love."

Once swore to God to separate from his lover, Sarah wants him always, being full of desires and wanting "corrupt human love" even just before her death. She stayed secular and even vulgar until the end, even though the author must have wished to lead her to the path toward God. And that is just why Sarah, that miserable mortal, stays always in my mind.

Same thing for Gong-ju and Jong-du. Their happiness may exist in this real world full of prejudice and discrimination, where ugly desire or ordinary cheapness of human life smears them. But it may also give them pleasure to love, to help each other, and/or to share something precious between them. They do not need God, but they just need each other.

Nobody knows whether or not the future will congratulate them in the end, but probably, as did the director, should I leave them in the room of Gong-ju, where many dusts floating in the air are shimmering with the sunlight, and Gong-ju seems to be smiling, reading the letter from Jong-du. We don't know if they will be able to finish their story, but anyway, they have started it. Everything is now up to them.

10/10.
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10/10
they had the power of love in them but noone understood it.
fruko3 May 2003
This is one of the most beautiful and sensible films you can ever see. So-ri Moon's performance is incredibly real that until a dream-like sequence I thought that she really had had cerebral palsy. Kyung-gu Sol was transmitting perfectly the behaviours and the glances of a 10 yeas old boy in the body of a 29 year old men.

The visual effects were applied brilliantly: white dove and the passing from reflection of light to white butterflies... Gong-ju's favorite color.

This is a film which can make you believe the purity of an man who committed 3 crimes and who tempted to rape a disabled young woman. This is film makes you believe in love, makes you sad, angry, happy. Shortly; this film gives you all that cinema should.
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10/10
Oustanding
sain1122 May 2005
Oasis is a love story of truly unique proportions. It is simply unlike any movie you are likely to see.

Confronting, unusual, at times violent, but also heartbreakingly honest.

Lead by a stunning performance by So-ri Moon, and ably assisted by Kyung-gu Sol. The two bring amazing humanity to two very difficult and unusual character. So-ri in particular is brilliant, flawless and complex in her portrayal of the disabled Gong-ju Han. Her performance should be watched by any aspiring actor or actress as it is astonishingly good.

The plot is difficult to describe without it sounding bizarre and unrealistic, but the direction and script transcend any difficulties the subject matter brings up, and ultimately deliver the viewer with an unrivaled experience in what cinema was meant to do. That is, show us life, in all it's intricate forms, to inspire us, challenge us and help us grow.

Oasis is a power-house of modern cinema. An instant classic. It shows difficult characters, going through difficult situations, and the director has refused to water-down any aspect of the film, making it very confronting for the viewer.

Yet another in a growing list of Korean films that have blown me away. Their industry is the best around in my opinion, combining the technical abilities of the big-budget Hollywood films, with the personal, human stories that you would see in European cinema, but doing this with an obviously Asian aesthetic. If you like Kong Kong or Japanese films, I recommend stepping up to Korean films, they are generally more personal, and shot with as much visual gloss as anything from the US.
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10/10
It's not sweet, but beautiful
gamutoflove27 February 2004
Before watching this film, I thought of Korean movies as sweet, tear-dripping melodoramas. And I was waiting for a movie to totally change my stereo type. So, here comes this movie. Yes, it is about a physically challenged person. Yes, it is about prejudice and sexual violence. This might not be a movie that many Korean movie (Last Presents or Love letter...) lovers like. This movie is not sweet, but very bitter. The people around the two protagonists seems terribly selfish. But most of us are on that side, not the two outsided protagonists. Watching them treated badly by the world full of prejudice which we might commit in real life,is really painful. But still, the live the protagonists lead are very beautiful, sometimes even laughable.
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10/10
the holy grail for those looking for love...
mratchford123 July 2004
I misread the synopsis before seeing this movie. I thought it was to be something like Clockwork Orange's 'ultraviolent' Beethoven groovin character. Auf dem Gegenteil! Instead, I was strait-jacked to my theater seat with a ball gag and shown --- love.The director 'has you at hello' with his mastery of inducing the vicarious experience of being judge, jury and executioner. While at first, I wanted to serve merely as a lawmaker/enforcer, it later began to dawn on my oh so thick skull, that here was a stereogram of love. You look at a stereogram and at first see nothing to justify further indulgence. Then you keep on looking anyway and get your reward. OASIS reward for looking into the private lives of the two lead characters is knowing once and for all: the meaning of love. Love is.
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9/10
All I can say is WOW
sfdavide7 February 2005
Maybe the best movie I have ever seen, Well not as good as Casablanca and Citizen Kane, But definitely in the Top Ten. This movie shows that love is available for everyone. When Movie begins you would never think you would feel sorry for the main character but because of the great performance by Kyong-gu Sol and equally so by So-ri Moon You really care about these two people. I do not cry to often during a movie but this brought tears to my eyes. This story of two people, one mentally disabled and the other physically is a pure gem. You feel for these two people and want them to get together.I will not tell the ending but it definitely bittersweet. I wish American movies can be made like this. I don't think American filmmakers are brave enough to do this
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Wonderful movie
Dante_Incarnate44127 March 2003
I get to see a Korean Movie now and then, and, even though i didnt understand a word of dialogue in this film, it was easy to tell what was going on. Oasis is the tale of a mentally disabled man who has recently been released from prison. Shortly after leaving, he attempts to rape a young physically disabled woman in her apartment. He comes to his senses, and apologizes later, and forms a powerful bond of understanding. while to most americans, Gong- Ju's fantasies might seem a little...odd (the dancing woman and the elephant is a perfect example,) it just goes to show that our cinema has lost most (if not all) heart. I would strongly urge anyone who is into Korean cinema to watch this film, it is a truly touching experience.
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10/10
Inventive, Original, Courageous
merry-stanford20 January 2006
I have never seen these two actors, Kyung-gu Sol and So-ri Moon, until this film. I think they were both outstanding! His character was convincingly "off" -- just didn't perceive and behave in the way others expect him to perceive and behave, and so was ridiculed and dismissed because of that. I loved how the film allowed us to get to know him gradually. At the beginning of the film I identified more with the folks on the street whom he embarrassed, but by the end of the film it was clear he was a hero.

So-ri Moon's character, I thought, was very convincingly played as a person with cerebral palsy. She portrayed the intelligence and full range of the character's emotions with striking authenticity. I found myself moving from a point of seeing her as a victim to seeing her as the full person that was her character. In fact, this was one of those rare films when not once did I think, "These are actors, acting." The direction was outstanding. I loved the scenes showing her fantasies as an able-bodied woman. It was a very effective way to help an able-bodied audience identify with her character, and come to understand and empathize with the isolation, belittlement, and objectification that differently-abled people are often subjected to. I especially liked the playful scene on the bus. But my favorite scene of all was the last one, showing her in her apartment, now well lit, clean, with green growing things, with his voice over. Even though the film did not have the expected and wished-for happy ending, the ending was a happy one.
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10/10
Greatest love story on film
ratcityfilmsociety30 March 2010
The greatest love story I have ever seen on film. A bold assertion that I made some seven years ago as I floated out of the theater completely blown away by the magnificence of this motion picture. Whenever I doubt that claim, I know it is time to revisit Chang-dong Lee's amazing expression of love on film. There is a point early in the picture where you will think that I am insane in my declaration. That's what helps to make it such a great story. So-ri Moon and Kyung-gu Sol both give phenomenal performances as the imperfect people who discover that love exists in its own plane, and this perfection is available to them. When I read the first part of this review, I sound like "Mr. Chick Flick"; which I am not. And after reading the preceding gushfest, I wouldn't and didn't change a word. It really is that good. It is on my all time top ten list most days (admit it yours has a degree of fluidity to it as well) and always in my twenty best of all time.
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10/10
What a movie is supposed to be...
mjk102811 May 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Chang Dong Lee. He only directed three films so far but I have no hesitation to say his works are the masterpiece of Korean films. Oasis is my top choice of his works.

There are already excellent comments on this film you could read through. I just want to add one thing. It was the most touching and romantic moment that Jong Du escaped from the police station to trim the tree branches which made a shadow that Gong Ju was afraid of. It shows us LOVE is not something fantastic or metaphysical but how you care the others. Great film! I am eagerly looking forward to seeing his next film that will be release soon, Mil Yang (secret sunshine).
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10/10
Not just a beautiful story, but an ugly allegory too.
threeJane1 March 2009
mitsounob from Yokohama, Japan commented that the director made this film about communication, among other things. That's what it was largely about for me too.

I'm thinking mainly of the scene where Jong-du and Gong-ju are both at the police station. When Gong-ju is being asked for her account of the incident, her sister keeps speaking for her. The policeman doesn't give Gong-ju time to speak for herself. One of the most difficult scenes for me is when Gong-ju repeatedly bashes herself against the cabinet to try to get somebody to listen to her. Similarly, her brother, when trying to reach a "settlement" with Jong-du's family, speaks for Gong-ju. When talking about how traumatised Gong-ju has been, he says, 'Just look at her'. As if she could never enjoy physical love.

This brings me to the second theme of the movie, as far as I am concerned. The world is set up for people with a certain range of abilities. Which means that people who fall within this range can exploit people who fall outside of them. Which is exactly how Gong-ju and Jong-du are treated by their families.

Jong-du is the fall guy for his brother, who has a family and a career and can't 'afford' to do time. To add insult to injury, Jong-du gets out of jail to find that his brother has moved, without leaving a forwarding address! Gong-ju's family similarly exploits her. Jong-du and Gong-ju are fairly forgiving of their families' despicable behaviour.

My final comment on this film is that Gong-ju and Jong-du know their place in the world. They know not to even bother trying to convey the truth. In fact, I get a fleeting, disturbing feeling that their families are the only people whose behaviour towards them is a true and honest symptom of how the world really works.
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9/10
Profoundly impressive
bastard_wisher3 January 2006
It would be nearly impossible for me to deny the true greatness of this film. There are very few films I can think of which contain so much ambition, integrity, conviction, and audacity. It is a love story of rare power, matched only by a precious few others. The concept of the film alone deserves admiration, and the execution is nearly flawless. It manages to avoid practically all the problems which could potentially occur trying to tell a story like this. In the wrong hands, this film could have either been a cloying, condescending mess, or a cruel sickening freak show. But, as is, the film does a great job of keeping a balance, never reducing itself to either, equally false, extreme. Instead the film relentlessly pursues those elusive moments of cinematic truth, and never falters. The extent to which the filmmakers (writer/director and actors alike) remain true to the characters they are portraying is amazing, never reducing them to either grotesque caricature nor helpless objects worthy only of our pity and easy, manipulative tears. Instead, the film takes a truly unflinching, yet nuanced look at mental and physical disability. When you consider that the subject of disability in cinema usually results in sterile, vapid films like "Forrest Gump" and "The Other Sister", "Oasis" is practically a miracle. At times I admit it is hard to watch, but it is honest and never at all mean-spirited. Ultimately the effect is messy, transcendent truthfulness rather than shock or unpleasantness. The only real criticism I have about the film is that I felt the occasional dream sequences were ultimately unnecessary, although for what they were they weren't bad at all, fairly well-done actually.
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8/10
so... this is love.
kleaner5 October 2003
Oasis is a very powerful film about love. Usually, romance movies have such good looking main characters with perfect soul that audience can think only decent people deserve to love. But in reality, not many people have lives like in "Pretty Woman".

Oasis completely reverses this cliche. Two main characters are hated by everyone. Jong-Doo is a three time ex-prisoner, and Gong-Ju is cebral palsy. Sol Kyoung Gu and Moon So Ri give such brilliant performances that at first I was annoyed by Jong-Doo and felt uncomfortable watching Gong-Ju's twisted body.

The scenes that Gong-Ju sometimes turns into normal and sings and plays coquetish show her wish very well. And the scene that Jong-Doo cuts off the branch which Gong-Ju scares is so powerful and emotional.

Some audience say the last scene is passimistic but I see that someday their love will blossom.

Director tells the audience that they are the ones who have prejudice to minor people and they should see them as warmly as others.
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comment on roger eberts review
turnerggg23 February 2019
I don't know if anyone has said this same comment but I want to get into the commentary here. Roger Ebert is a great reviewer and his review of Oasis is worthy. Except for the part about "Idiot Plot" ... I think he's just simply missed it. The family didn't tell the police the relevent info - why? perhaps you have to think Korean and perhaps, even more to the point, they wanted him to go to jail. My two cents.

This is a very fine and significant movie and stands as one of the best, ever. It has more humanity in a thimble-full than any of its American cinema contemporaries. Well, I'm willing to stand corrected - again, my nickle.

See this movie.
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7/10
Nobody cares about this couple, should you?
karluk991 April 2013
Warning: Spoilers
This turns out to be a surprisingly difficult question to answer, especially considering that watching Oasis is a complete waste of time if the answer turns out to be "no". Obviously the producers, screen writers, actors and director are all doing their best to generate a positive response.

But it is a tribute to the integrity of the story that a "yes" vote doesn't come easily. Jong-du is an ex-con with three convictions on his record. After being paroled for vehicular manslaughter, he unaccountably decides to pay his respects to the family of his victim. There he meets Gong-ju, a young woman stricken with cerebral palsy. He gives her flowers, but a follow-up visit ends disastrously in an attempted rape that is interrupted only when Gong-ju faints from horror.

During this visit, Jong-du gave Gong-ju his phone number in an attempt to put her at ease, and Gong-ju eventually decides to call him. Against all expectations, they find they have a lot in common and a romance blossoms.

Against this unpromising backdrop Oasis has a long uphill climb to win the audience's sympathy. It's not an easy transition. The revelation that Jong-du is innocent of manslaughter and confessed only in order to save his older brother helps. The inexcusable neglect and mistreatment of both Jong-du and Gong-ju by their families helps even more. These are two people that deserve better treatment than they are getting from their closest relatives.

Oasis benefits from outstanding performances by both its stars, great directing, and a riveting screenplay. In a lot of ways it's not an easy movie to watch, but I was mesmerized by the characters coming to life before my eyes and forming a relationship that for a time provided a refuge from their bleak existence, just as an oasis in a desert provides relief from an otherwise barren landscape.
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9/10
Heartbreaking, but ultimately uplifting
AirPlant27 October 2009
In a near perfect fusion of committed acting and sensitive direction; Chang dong-Lee demonstrates how Love can overcome even the most insurmountable of obstacles. This is a truly magical work of cinema. The first half-hour is one of the toughest watches I know in cinema. Jong-du's first encounter with Gong-ju is in the context of a sexual assault, and sadly, many will stop watching at this point (as we did) I was months before I braved the rest of the movie; and my god, I'm glad I did -Chang-dong Lee eschews the Hollywood convention that people with disabilities be portrayed as super-humans who can do no wrong. Instead, he challenges the audience with complex, flawed characters who are presented with choices through which they can grow as human beings. This is one of those movies that transcends the genre and delivers an insight into a world rarely explored. An amazing film and an amazing love story.
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10/10
Stays with you..
heywood_jablomey10 June 2007
I'm not often compelled to write on IMDb. The film stays with you days after watching it. It's so heart-wrenchingly beautiful. There are scenes in it that just make you cry out loud and some that will make you laugh out loud. It's one of the rare movies where the director and cast are just working together in one beautiful unison, in perfect harmony. A masterclass in movie-making. The actress is so amazing playing a cerebal palsy afflicted girl, it's not patronising, it's the most human part I have seen in years. The actor is also extremely gifted, little nuances in his acting make his part breath more realisitically. Speaking of realism, this movie packs a punch. Get ready.
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10/10
So wonderful
cdvoice41530 April 2003
I think this film is the most powerful one in the films I have seen so far this year.

Before I saw the movie,I did not imagine how good the film would be but after that ,in fact,during seeing it,I can not stop feeling that is the best,so moving ,so convulsing. The girl is not so pretty,but her performance is so wonderful

I love this film!!
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9/10
Soul-shredding cinema. An instant classic of humanism.
rasputin-2310 May 2014
If deep humanism and filmic craft are your criteria, it's one of the best world movies ever made. Period. I'm just dumbstruck. It's just soul-shredding. Devastating. Astonishing. I'm speechless. No words.

No spoilers, but it's about a young man, what you might call a "f**k-up", the black sheep of his petit-bourgeois family, who falls in love with a quadriplegic girl.

A profound indictment of a modern, numbed, pitiless, hyper-urbanized Korea. The two lead actors deliver stunning, world-class performances.

The film will make you feel every emotion under the sun, and profoundly. It is perfused with a humor of the darkest, slyest variety, which belies the gravity and pathos of the story.

Profoundly original, I can't compare it to anything I've ever seen before, except perhaps to humanistic pictures like 1965's A PATCH OF BLUE, or 1975's DOG DAY AFTERNOON.

This movie will make you pray that the Bible is right when it says "God keeps His eyes on the sparrow." Connoisseurs of the finest world cinema simply cannot miss this movie.
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10/10
Heart rendering and tear breaking as well as emotional empathy
allahero18 June 2013
This film is played with such precise acting of natural behaviour that the outcome of the story just deepens your heart and mind in believing why we humans do such cruel activities and leave those who cannot enact decisions for themselves to suffer from our greed and desired darkness that makes us the monster that we are ..... This film is a prime example on why we should look deep in the well of our hearts and souls and try to forgive and understand the simplest of cruel intentions we blind out which then snowballs to this extent of cruel injustice to the innocent that are fallen angels amongst us... This truly is a magnificent movie for those who want to understand the eternal darkness of a corrupted mind...
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