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Mother (2009)

Madeo (original title)
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2:10 | Trailer
A mother desperately searches for the killer who framed her son for a girl's horrific murder.

Director:

Bong Joon Ho

Writers:

Bong Joon Ho (story), Eun-kyo Park (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Popularity
1,436 ( 324)
39 wins & 44 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Hye-ja Kim ... Mother
Won Bin ... Yoon Do-joon
Goo Jin ... Jin-tae
Je-mun Yun ... Je-moon (as Jae-moon Yoon)
Mi-seon Jeon ... Mi-sun
Sae-byeok Song ... Sepaktakraw Detective (as Sae-beauk Song)
Byoung-Soon Kim Byoung-Soon Kim ... Group Leader
Woo-hee Chun ... Mi-na
Gin-goo Kim Gin-goo Kim ... Ah-jeong's Grandma
Moo-yeong Yeo Moo-yeong Yeo ... Lawyer Kong Seok-ho (as Ou-hyung Yum)
Young-Suck Lee Young-Suck Lee ... Elder at Junk Shop
Hee-ra Mun Hee-ra Mun ... Moon Ah-jeong (as Hee-ra Moon)
Mi-do Lee Mi-do Lee ... Hyung-teo
Young-ki Jung Young-ki Jung ... Kkang-ma
Gyu-pil Go Gyu-pil Go ... Ddung-ddung (as Kyu-phill Ko)
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Storyline

A mother lives quietly with her twenty-eight-year-old son, Do-joon, providing herbs and acupuncture to neighbors. One day, a girl is brutally murdered, and Do-joon is charged with the killing. Now, it's his mother's call whether to prove him innocent or to leave him imprisoned. Written by Pusan International Film Festival

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

She'll stop at nothing.

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language, some sexual content, violence and drug use | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

South Korea

Language:

Korean

Release Date:

28 May 2009 (South Korea) See more »

Also Known As:

Mother See more »

Filming Locations:

Busan, South Korea See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$5,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$35,858, 14 March 2010

Gross USA:

$551,509

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$17,112,713
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

While filming the opening sequence of Mother's dancing, director Joon-ho Bong danced together with Hye-ja Kim to make her feel less nervous. See more »

Alternate Versions

A black and white version (overseen by Joon-ho Bong) premiered at the Sydney Film Festival in 2015. The cut (and duration) remain that same, with colour altered. See more »

Connections

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

Soundtracks

Song of Joy
Written by Ludwig van Beethoven
Heard on the lawyer's phone
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Intense, witty, and engaging
4 October 2009 | by howard.schumannSee all my reviews

After a night of drinking, Do Joon (Bin Won), an intellectually-challenged young man, encouraged by his reckless buddy Jin-tae (Ku-jin), attempts to pick up a young high school girl Ah-jung walking home alone. Shockingly, the next day, Do Joon is arrested for the girl's murder as his mother looks on helplessly. Seen at the Vancouver Film Festival, Bong Joon-ho's Mother is an intelligent, suspenseful, and darkly comic revelation of the lengths to which an overbearing but deeply loving mother will go to pursue justice for her son who, she believes, has been wrongly convicted of murder.

Though there is an evocative score by Lee Byeong-woo, the film's use of ambient sounds such as the slashing of Hye-ja's herb chopper and the rustling of leaves add to an ominous mood, though it often clashes with the absurdist events seen on screen. Set in a small Korean town, the elderly mother, played by Korean TV star Kim Hye-ja in one of the most nuanced and emotive performances of the year, makes a living by selling herbal medicine and providing illegal acupuncture treatments. Convinced of her son's innocence, she will stop at nothing, even violence, to find the real killer. She learns details about the dead girl's personal life and talks to alternative suspects, even though even she is not fully prepared for the twists and turns that her investigation will take.

The film opens with a shot of a lone elderly woman walking in a vast expanse of open field, reminiscent of the opening shot in Shunji Iwai's All About Lily Chou Chou. As she approaches the camera, the background music becomes rhythmic and the woman begins a strange, almost provocative dance. The scene then shifts to her business where she is keeping a close eye on her 27-year-old son Do-Joon who she feels needs her constant protection. Playing in the street with a dog, the boy is knocked over by a speeding hit and run driver in a Mercedes-Benz.

Uninjured, Do-Joon and Jin-tae chase the car to a golf course where the two attack the drivers of the Benz with sticks while collecting numerous golf balls, later to be used in evidence in court. On the fateful night, after Do-Joon is thrown out of a bar for being drunk, he pursues Ah-Jung home and the next day is arrested for murder, although details of what happened are murky. Bong shows the police procedural as in Memories of Murder to be on the lackadaisical side and conveys the impression that everyone involved is only out for their self-interest, including police, lawyers, friends, junk dealers, and schoolgirls.

Reminiscent of the quirky, offbeat films of Alfred Hitchcock, Mother is an intense, witty, and engaging psychological thriller with enigmatic characters that do not just populate the screen but are vitally alive. In one outstanding scene that will etch itself forever in your memory, Hye-ja attends the funeral of the girl her son is alleged to have murdered. Although besieged by distraught family members who think her son is a murderer, she has the fortitude to look them in the eye and proclaim "my son could never do something like that". Although "barking dogs don't bite", this woman is one "mutha" of an exception.


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