Okja

Critics Consensus

Okja sees Bong Joon-ho continuing to create defiantly eclectic entertainment -- and still hitting more than enough of his narrative targets in the midst of a tricky tonal juggling act.

86%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 218

81%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 10,103
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Movie Info

For 10 idyllic years, young Mija (An Seo Hyun) has been caretaker and constant companion to Okja--a massive animal and an even bigger friend--at her home in the mountains of South Korea. But that changes when a family-owned multinational conglomerate Mirando Corporation takes Okja for themselves and transports her to New York, where image obsessed and self-promoting CEO Lucy Mirando (Tilda Swinton) has big plans for Mija's dearest friend. With no particular plan but single-minded in intent, Mija sets out on a rescue mission, but her already daunting journey quickly becomes more complicated when she crosses paths with disparate groups of capitalists, demonstrators and consumers, each battling to control the fate of Okja...while all Mija wants to do is bring her friend home. Deftly blending genres, humor, poignancy and drama, Bong Joon Ho (Snowpiercer, The Host) begins with the gentlest of premises--the bond between man and animal--and ultimately creates a distinct and layered vision of the world that addresses the animal inside us all. Okja is a Plan B Entertainment, Lewis Pictures and Kate Street Picture Company production in association with Netflix.

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Critic Reviews for Okja

All Critics (218) | Top Critics (41)

  • Pitch-black satire, heartwarming devotion, over-the-top performance, and subtle drama are engineered into something decidedly (if improbably) delicious.

    Nov 4, 2017 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • What makes the jumble cohere, as usual with Bong, is his extraordinary grasp of space and speed, especially in the Korean half of the film.

    Jul 3, 2017 | Full Review…
  • The best parts of the movie are also the least wacky.

    Jun 30, 2017 | Rating: B- | Full Review…
  • It's a sublime tale of the value of humanity, and the horrors we often have to suffer through to hold on to that.

    Jun 30, 2017 | Full Review…
  • It's a testament to Bong's sprawling ambition that Okja manages to be so many things at once -- a caustic satire of corporate evil, an intercontinental action/adventure epic, a coming-of-age narrative for the girl.

    Jun 29, 2017 | Full Review…
  • The film shares Bong's casual ping-ponging of tones, his fascination with picking at society's many scabs, and the way his films frequently skid into violence and cruelty without warning.

    Jun 29, 2017 | Full Review…

    Andrew Lapin

    NPR
    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Okja

  • Oct 09, 2017
    Ever since I got a dog, I've become so much more aware of the canine creatures in every film I see. Okja isn't a dog, instead a "super pig", but she's very much treated like a dog. And when a film is centered around the well-being of a dog-like creature, it's very difficult to not become attached to the animal. Heck, I was attached to the dog in The Mountain Between Us, and that movie was horrible. With all that said, Okja does a nice job of balancing the inevitable manipulative emotions that come from having a lovable animal with the weight of a serious subject matter like animal rights. It's that balance where Okja really shines. Okja boasts a wonderfully diverse cast, led by newcomer Seo-Hyun Ahn, who plays Okja's early-teen owner, Mija. She's joined by Tilda Swinton, Giancarlo Esposito, Paul Dano, Lily Collins, Steven Yeun, and Jake Gyllenhaal. The story follows Mija's quest to bring Okja back to her farm home in South Korea, as the original breeders of Okja attempt to take her in for examinations and experiments. What follows is a surprisingly emotional turn of a events as Mija does everything she can, including traveling across the world, to set Okja free. So in that way, it's a brilliantly poignant take on animal rights, with an immediate connection watching a young girl and her best friend, who just happens to be a super massive pig. On the other- hand, the tone set by Snowpierecer director Joon-Ho Bong can sometimes be jarring. As much as I love me some Jake Gyllenhaal, it feels like he's in a completely different movie than everyone else. You have a serious film about animal rights and what some of the consequences are for them in the meat industry and yet Gyllenhaal is running around acting like he's in an Ace Ventura film. Obviously an intentional direction from Bong, but it's still very jarring. Luckily, Mija and Okja's relationship is incredibly charming and easily relatable, so the tone jumps don't severely impact the enjoyment of the film. I found myself legitimately caring for these super pigs and devastated when they were "taken care of". As a meat-eater, it's sure going to be difficult to eat hot dogs anytime soon. But in all seriousness, Okja is a sweet story led by mostly great performances and a memorable relationship between a girl and her dog (super pig). There's not much not to like about Okja. 8.4/10
    Thomas D Super Reviewer
  • Sep 22, 2017
    https://cinephilecrocodile.blogspot.co.uk/2017/08/okja-dir-joon-ho-2017-ill-be-honest-i.html
    Anthony L Super Reviewer
  • Aug 06, 2017
    Despite the overacting and lack of subtlety, this is a touching film that benefits from astonishing visual effects and offers a welcome ecological message about the exploitation of science and atrocities committed against animals for profit to the detriment of people's health.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer
  • Jul 29, 2017
    This was quite an achievement for the Netflix team and gives other filmmakers an artistic outlet for out there concepts. The cast gives great performances that carry the film but they aren't anything against Okja and the companions relationship. The film has an odd balancing act of darkness and satire, the slaughterhouse scene towards the end is shattering. I can't wait to see where the director heads after this but he has crafted a unique story that deserves all the recognition it receives. This type of film deserves a cinema expert but unfortunately the Netflix model won't allow it which is a shame. Great film and worth checking out. 30-07-2017.
    Brendan N Super Reviewer

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