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Yoon-Hee lives with her teenage daughter Sae-Bom. On a winter day, Yoon-Hee receives a letter from Otaru, Japan. Sae-Bom accidentally reads the letter and learns about her mother's first love, which she never spoke about before.
Sometimes two completely different worlds collide in the most unforeseen circumstances. This happens in Kim Yoon-seok's directorial debut Another Child, when two young women unwillingly find themselves in the midst of a difficult adult situation.
Another Child tells the story of two 15-year olds discovering their mothers are going through some demanding situations. When Joo-ri (Kim Hye-jun) sees a photo of her father and an unknown woman on his phone, she starts investigating their secret connection. Following him to an out of town duck restaurant, she quickly realises her father (Kim Yoon-seok) has been having an affair with the owner (Kim So-jin), who is also the mother of one of her schoolmates, Yoon-ha (Park Se-jin). The two schoolgirls don't really know each other, since they don't share any classes together, but this doesn't stop Yoon-ha to start a fight over Joo-ri's phone, which she dropped outside her mother's restaurant when fleeing the scene.
Joo-ri's parents have been sleeping in separate bedrooms for the last two years. She would love to figure out what exactly went wrong between her parents before her mother (Yum Jung-ah) gets wind of the affair, but it seems she already knows. To make everything even more complicated, Yoon-ha's mother Mi-hee is several months pregnant. This news comes as a shock to Joo-ri, who slowly but surely realises nothing will ever be like the good old days. The entire situation picks up speed when the two mothers collide after a spontaneous visit to the restaurant and the baby gets born prematurely.
The two teenagers bond over their differences, stuck together in a situation they never choose to be in in the first place. Their friendship gets put to the test on several occasions, especially when it becomes clear these two girls have different opinions on family and priorities in life. While these four women figure out what to do with their lives, Dae-won tries to unscramble his own life choices and what's next for him. Clearly devastated by the pain he senses in his home, he ignores what's happening in front of him and runs away in denial - ripping apart his family and lying about new beginnings to his mistress.
The story never really takes off in the way you hope it would. Everyone seems unhappy with their own defects, but that to me is just what human nature is all about. Finding your flaws and correcting them in a way you can live with them, without hurting the people you love. The emotional core of the story is set up to understand what each and every character is going through. Not asking for forgiveness but for compassion. The acting is decent, but no one stands out.
Another Child is unexpectedly tame when you have read the synopsis. Expectations are never met and this somewhat flattens the rest of the film into something you'll enjoy in the moment, but will forget about in the next few days. It explores kindness and other human emotions when the comfort in your daily life suddenly feels threatened upon. As a feature debut, this is a well crafted film with a realistic look at the world, that explores humanity in the rawest way.
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