Poetry ★★★

POETRY is, inevitably, a film that strives to be poetic throughout, and yet come the end a few infuriating flaws detract from the experience. The first is the running time, which is way too long for such a slender story. I know this was intended to be a realistic mood piece, dealing with the older generation so that a slow and sedate pace reflects the lives of the characters, but seriously? An hour could easily have been cut out to no ill effect.

Still, there are plenty of flashes of greatness in this production. The leading actress, Jeong-hie Yun, who came out of retirement to star in this film, is very good indeed and never less than authentic. The way the movie explores the relationship with the man she cares for is very intriguing. But, at times, I expected the film to be more harrowing, especially in regard to her character's plight. It's as if the director takes great pride in NOT showing the scenes you expect to see, but the end result is a lack of drama and involvement.

By far the most interesting aspect of the storyline involves the main actress's grandson, but it's more build-up than pay-off and the resolution, when it comes, is presented so insignificantly that you almost miss the significance. Nevertheless, the understated direction and sheer beauty of many of the scenes contribute a lot to the production, and sometimes it's nice to watch a movie that takes a step back or two to reflect on the human condition. I liked it, but didn't love it...