Review: ‘Don’t Cry, Mommy’

Opening as a compelling portrait of a teenage girl whose first crush turns into a gang-rape nightmare that triggers her suicide, "Don't Cry, Mommy" runs off the rails with her grieving mother's quest for vengeance.

Opening as a compelling portrait of a teenage girl whose first crush turns into a gang-rape nightmare that triggers her suicide, “Don’t Cry, Mommy” runs off the rails with her grieving mother’s quest for vengeance. Based on an amalgam of true stories, helmer Kim Yong-han’s feature debut makes a sincere if heavy-handed plea for re-evaluating South Korean laws applying to underage sex offenders. Hot-topic subject matter and casting of pop star Dong-ho as the chief violator should help attract OK biz when the pic is released next month.

Arriving at a new school in the wake of her parent’s divorce, conscientious 17-year-old Eun-ha (Nam Bo-ra, excellent) is attracted to handsome student Jo-han (Dong-ho). Preying on her innocence, Jo-han and friends Pak Joon (Kwan Hyun-sang) and Min-gu (Lee Sang-min) rape Eun-ha, and threaten to post footage of the incident online if she talks. After Eun-ha’s suicide, the perps receive only the limited punishment applicable under prevailing laws. Pic’s serious social message is never completely lost, but subtlety gives way to dramatic overkill once Eun-ha’s grieving mother, Yoo-lim (Yu Sun), takes matters into her own hands. Perfs and tech work are fine.

Don't Cry, Mommy

South Korea

Production

A Golden Tide Pictures release of a Daisy & Cinergy Entertainment presentation of a Cinema Golbangi production in association with Daisy & Cinergy Entertainment, Sam Film & Contents. (International sales: Daisy & Cinergy Entertainment, Seoul.) Produced by Shon You-jin, Kim Won-kuk. Executive producers, Kim Won-kuk, Chae Yuon. Directed by Kim Yong-han. Screenplay, Lee Sang-hyun.

Crew

Camera (color, widescreen, HD), Jung Han-chul; editor, Kim Mi-joo; music, Lee Jong-soo; production designer, Kim Sun-jung; costume designer, Yang Hwa-ryung; sound (Dolby Digital), Lee Seung-jun; visual effects, UFO SDL; line producer, Kim Yun-o; assistant director, Kim Jae-hoon. Reviewed at Busan Film Festival (Open Cinema), Oct. 9, 2012. Running time: 92 MIN.

With

Yu Sun, Nam Bo-ra, Yoo Oh-seong, Dong-ho, Kwan Hyun-sang, Lee Sang-min, Jung So-yang. (Korean dialogue)

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