Film Review: Madonna

By Tatiana Ho

Madonna, starring actress Seo Young-hee, is a drama surrounding a hospital caretaker by the name of Moon Hye-Rim. The movie begins with tone setting music and dark scenery, letting the audience know what is in store. The main character starts her care taking job as a way to pay off debt that is overdue, but ends up being surrounded by characters on both sides of the social class system in South Korea – some high standings within society and others on the bottom of the totem pole. The eerie VIP ward hosts the largest donor of the hospital, a paraplegic named Kim Chul-Oh, and his son Sang-soo who plays a role in Moon Hye-Rim’s later adventure.

When Ms. Moon finally finds a stable place within her new job, a street worker is selected as a heart donor to save the tycoon Kim Chul-oh’s life. Things change when Moon discovers that the woman is pregnant which results in her being sent to find the next of kin to take care of the child once it is born. Focused on finding a relative of the self proclaimed “Madonna”, Moon takes the viewers on a visual journey of the life of a pregnant street worker which concludes with a answer as to how the pregnant woman ends up in the hospital.

The emotional journey is a third film for renegade director Shin So-won who uses her craft to question the judgement of her audiences and change the points of view on people in general. Madonna speaks on the maltreatment of women within South Korean Society in both respected and underground working situations. The film presents a strong feminist stance on the judgement of women and the social injustice that is endured in the every day life of a person who is just trying to survive. The movie is a heart wrenching declaration on the “unfairness” of life, which takes a deep turn for viewers. Although the film changes the point of views of it’s audiences, the dramatic scenes are almost too much to endure for a second time.

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