South Korea is known for its feel-good K-pop hits and swoon-worthy K-dramas, but that's not all that the Land of the Morning Calm has to offer. It's got its fair share of serious flicks loaded with social commentary (like Parasite and Okja)—while still packing the same level production and substantial storytelling. If you need a break from rom-coms, we have a suggestion for you: Kim Ji-Young, Born 1982 starring Jung Yu Mi and Gong Yoo delves deep into the trials and tribulations of motherhood, and it starts streaming on Viu today, April 3.
Throughout her life, Kim Ji-Young (Yu Mi) has faced discrimination and sexism in her own household, in school, at work, and now, her own marriage. Now a mother in her 30s, she has let her job go and decided to be a housewife. Ji-Young laments that while she's happy to take care of her daughter and be a loving wife to her husband, Dae-Hyun (Gong Yoo), there are some days when she feels trapped in her routine. Her husband says this is affecting their relationship, and he advises her to seek help from a professional. She shares her problems, and it's clear how strict gender roles and expectations have led her—and countless other women—to break.
The film shows a society that knows and sees how hard it is to be a mother, with no one truly understanding how challenging Ji-Young's struggles are. The 2019 film is based on a novel of the same name by television screenwriter Cho Nam Joo, which unfolds the author's own story from birth to motherhood from the perspective of her male psychiatrist. Kim Ji-Young is a common name in South Korea and though it has a plot that follows just one character, it tells the story of other Korean women—or other Ji-Youngs—who face inequality and must follow strict gender roles on a daily basis in all aspects of their lives.
Kim Ji-Young, Born 1982 is now streaming on Viu.