Hope ★★★★

As devastating, Hope is a harrowing drama about suffering of a family and their revival, which shouldn't happen to anyone even in nightmares. It's painful and heartbreaking experience. Hope is a film that might ruin your day because it is so good. Based on the true story which shook South Korea, it is a tale of how an unspeakable horror bought together a family and its community. Child abuse, especially on the scale of the event in Hope, are sensitive topics to wrangle and should never be gratuitous. Considering this is a true-life dramatisation of an actual event, it received its fair share of criticism for even daring to exist on release. However, Hope does its best to achieve that fine balance of making us understand the scale of the horrific event without recourse to crass imagery.

The film is about more than its central event though. It is about how families can take each other for granted, but can be the ones to fix each other too. For some the film may feel overly sentimental, but what pulls the film back from genuinely entering this territory are the three central performances from Lee Re, Sol Kyung and Uhm Ji-won. Hope is a very difficult watch. For some it will be outright unsuitable. But through the difficulties there shines plenty of what makes the world good too. This is perhaps what makes Hope the film it is – a portrait of that blend of pain and joy of the human experience.


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