Written by Joon ho Bong

 Directed by Joon ho Bong

Kim Hye-ja









There are some tricks that a good actor or actress learns early on; the problem is that they are often forgotten when the actor gets a role.  One of them is always to fight against revealing emotion; in other words to let the plot carry the story.  Try and minimize your own angst, your own happiness as the plot reveals them.  Few American actors have this; one that comes to mind is Meryl Streep, who always holds something back unless she is deliberately letting it all out.  On the other hand, Mark Ruffalo always lets us know everything that he’s thinking; we read him like an open book.


What leads to these notes is the performance of a South Korean actress named Kim Hye-ja, who plays the mother in Bong Joon-ho’s film “Mother.”  Usually photograped from the front in closeup, so her face is always revealed, she makes her chiseled features stand for every emotion she’s required to face in “Mother.”  In the film she runs a small apothecary shop and is also an unlicensed



She lives with her 20-something-year-old son, who is, there is no other word for it, a retard.  He has the mind of a six-year-old.  The two of them sleep together on a mat, she feeds him his meals and tries to keep him safe.