Return to Seoul

15 Blu-ray, DVD

Having parents can be hard work; sometimes it’s difficult to see eye to eye on certain things, and the generational gap often feels that it’s getting even wider. But you have that family bond, no matter what.

But what if you don’t, such as children who are adopted at a young age and have no connection whatsoever with their biological parents?

For French director Davy Chou’s latest film, he follows a young woman on a journey of familial discovery.

boom reviews Return to Seoul
Look my hands have completely disappeared, right?!

Leaving her home of France is 25-year-old Freddie (Park Ji-min). She’s about to embark on a two week adventure in South Korea. When she gets there however, the locals treat her as a bit of a curiosity, because despite the fact she speaks French, she looks very Korean. This is down to the fact that she was actually born there, but due to family difficulties, was adopted at a very young age, which is how she ended up with a couple in France.

So in a sense, this is a homecoming of sorts, but not that she thinks of it as that. That is until she starts talking to some locals, who speak French, who tell her about the Hammond organisation, which is famous for being the adoption agency.

Freddie decides to visit it, and just enquire as whether or not they know of her there. It is a meeting that will have a profound affect on her for the rest of her life, as it leads her to meeting with her biological father.

boom reviews Return to Seoul
I wish there were a way for me to fold this up and put it in my phone...

As examinations of identity go, Chou’s is a pretty profound one. It begins in a playful mood, with the notion of investigating her biological family lineage far from Freddie’s mind. But once that seed has been planted, you see it come to fruition throughout the course of the film.

It’s far from a smooth road either, as it negotiates the many bumps and obstacles along the way, for all sides, navigating plenty of emotional baggage for all those concerned, making it often quite heartbreaking.

Park is exceptional, made all the more so by the fact this is her acting debut; she has to dig deep emotionally, which she does with such ease, indicating that she made the right choice choosing this acting lark.

Chou’s film is a insightful look at the complexities that can come with adoption, told with sensitivity and heart, that is bound to hit you hard, whether you’re adopted or not.

we give this three out of five