- How does your view of the main character change throughout the course of this film?
At the beginning, Do-joon’s mother seems to be a caring mother, constantly worried about the well being and whereabouts of her special needs’ son, who is sometimes taken advantage of, due to his lack of memory. At this point, she seemed to be a single mother that works selling medicinal herbs in a Korean town, and takes care of her son the best way she can. She warned her son to not be hanging out with Jin-tae, a local boy that likes to go around defying authority, mocking and deceiving people. After the authorities found the death girl, I still thought that she was a good mother trying to save her appeared to be “innocent’ son, and dealing with several inefficient, unskilled, and unprofessional police officers and lawyer. Later, my point of view started changing, when Do-joon remembered that his mother tried to kill him and herself when he was five years old, by poisoning him, but she was unsuccessful. I thought she was very immature, inept, and a weak minded person, at that moment in her life when her son was five years old, but perhaps she was too young and acquired more maturity and experience later on in life. Then, Do-joon’s mother went to the old man’s junkyard collector, where he confessed her that he saw Do-joon attacking that girl, when the girl called him “retard’, and carrying her to the roof. She killed the old man in denial and burnt his house. At this point, I thought that she was an emotionally unstable person, because she murdered someone to protect a guilty son. I think she knew that she is the one that should have been in jail in the first place, because she taught her son wrongly. She is the one that told him to attack anyone that insulted him, so indirectly this was all her fault. Later, after she knew that the police was going to convict another intellectually disabled boy that was innocent, in place of her guilty son, I thought that she was evil and never loved her son. In my opinion, she was only protecting herself and her feelings, because she knew this was her fault, and so needed to fix the problem to feel better about herself. He was the only person left in her life, and she needed him. She could not cope with her own mistakes or assume responsibilities for them.
What does this movie say about its the themes of motherhood and justice?
In this situation, motherhood interfered with justice. This is been happening for a long time. Some mothers believed that they are helping their offspring by taking care of the circumstances that occurred when they get in trouble, even if that entails deceiving justice. The truth is that is not real love and it only causes more troubles for their offspring because they never learn from their mistakes, always thinking that someone will be at their rescue and can’t assume responsibilities for their own actions. I know because I have three children. This is also bad for the society, because these mothers are filling out our world with people that have no judgement and decision making skills. Even if you have a special need child, you can still teach them to make right choices. In my family we have one, and sometimes she can make decisions better than adults.
And what do you think the mother’s small tin of acupuncture needles symbolizes?
It symbolizes the mother’s feelings of guilt and her inability to cope with her mistakes in life. It also symbolizes how she cared more for herself than for her own son, because at the end, she didn’t care if her son remembered anything or the struggle he went through, she rather put the needle in herself to forget everything that happened. At the end, it only mattered her. Many mothers use motherhood as an excuse to be selfish and incompetent.