Poetry - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Poetry Reviews

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August 23, 2017
Ambiguous at times, but I would argue that its ambiguity and openness to interpretation propels the vast emptiness and surreal aesthetics of this delicate craft. To put it simply: this film is beautiful and thought-provoking. A poetical work of art.
½ November 30, 2016
As always, it bewitched me with inexplainable bitterness of drama
February 23, 2016
Don't you just love it when someone writes in a different voice other than their own voice? I know, because i've done it many times myself. That's all i really want to say here and oh yes, SEE this film !! NO spoiler alerts, just a Korean masterpiece powerful enough to perhaps change your life forever.
January 14, 2016
One of the most beautiful heartbreaking haunting films I've ever seen.
Super Reviewer
½ January 6, 2016
An uneven, overlong drama that wants to discuss many subjects but gets lost among ideas that are not fully developed or well explored, and so it is clear that it should have been better edited and focused more on the protagonist's fascination with poetry and inspiration.
½ November 28, 2015
It takes it time but its not slow .it implies rather than it shows and when it shows it is as meaningful as the emotions and the dialogues it conveys .Poetry is Beautiful and its music is felt though you never or almost hear one.You can't make a more poignant and absorbing tale where two loneliness meet each other in the most heartbreaking poem.The Agnes song poem at the end is not only about Mija fear of forgetting the beauty of the world and the feelings of memories that exis in words but the compassion and the assimilation of the old woman with the young victim.Poetry is indeed some powerful Movie and one I could never recommend enough!
November 22, 2015
"One old lady's search for poetic beauty in a morally-bankrupt world" may seem like an awfully pretentious description of a movie, but it works quite well indeed, thanks to a very strong central performance.
July 12, 2015
Powerful and tragic tale of the suffering of the innocent and how we must handle life's struggles with grace.
May 14, 2015
If somebody told me to watch a film about a granny with alzheimers trying to learn poetry I don't think I'd have been first in the queue but if they'd have told me it was a Korean film then things would be different. You just know that the Koreans are going to push the boundries in everything they do and very rarely disappoint. This is a dark twisted tales that looks like it could have been made by the womens institute; Almodovaresque.
March 13, 2015
Cinema wanders into the future and the universe in the digital age.
If cinema is life, poetry is the road to cinema.
August 6, 2014
What a beautiful film.
½ August 5, 2014
The gradually accumulation of inspiration. The character that felt the world with its revolving emotions so profoundly. Dialogue-wise invisible, silent suffering of main characters that gives rise to true inspiration.
July 26, 2014
Yun Junghee gives one of the best performances I have ever seen on screen. The film, itself, is so perfectly executed that it's impossible not consider it not only Chang-Dong Lee's best work, but also one of the best films of its genre.

July 25, 2014
Une histoire touchante au dénouement attendu.
July 22, 2014
Poetry is an emotionally devastating and heartbreaking drama. I can't remember the last time a film hit me as hard as Poetry did, but I'm glad it did, because Poetry is the kind of film that makes the viewer feel alive as it explores the complex realities of life so many dramas (Including some that I raved about) sugarcoat. It's a film that never offers easy answers to the situations the main character is put through, and how she struggles to come to terms with the terrible predicaments that turn her simple life upside down in the blink of an eye, and the film does it in a way that feels very real, which makes it such an intense experience.

The plot focuses on a 66-year-old woman named Mija who works part-time as a caregiver for an elderly man and raises her teenage grandson, who like many teenagers is lazy, doesn't really like authority, and spends a lot of his time hanging out with friends.

During this time, she is starting to suffer from memory loss, which is starting to cause concern for doctors as it is suspected she is in the early stages of Alzheimer's. She also wants to take a poetry class to help with her memory and also as a past time, which she manages to get into, much to her delight.

One day, Mija's world is turned upside down when a girl at her grandson's school commits suicide by jumping off a bridge. Upon investigating why the girl killed herself, her diary reveals that in the months before her suicide, she was being raped repeatedly by a group of boys, which just so happens to include Mija's grandson, who shows little remorse for his horrific deed.

On top of learning of her grandson's crime, doctors confirm that she does have Alzheimer's and must come to terms with the fact that her memory is going to get progressively worse as time goes by.

On top of that, the fathers of the other boys involved with the crime are trying to settle with the dead girl's mother, so that their sons' futures are not destroyed, and they want Mija to pay her part of the settlement, which she can't afford. However, it is not only the matter of not being able to afford it, but also she struggles as to how to handle her grandson, whether or not to let him pay for his crime, or let him have his future despite destroying the life of another person.

The only distraction she has away from the complex moral dilemmas is the poetry class as she tries to figure out how to write a poem, which is the only assignment for the class during the semester, but she must figure out what poetry truly is before she can write the poem.

With her life falling apart, her grandson's future up in the air, the tremendous guilt over the dead girl and her grandson's crime, and trying to find out what poetry truly is, Mija must go on a soul-searching journey through the complexities of life and moral dilemmas.

While some may find the story has too many elements, I disagree completely. Poetry's plot takes all these elements and expertly balances them all out. Not only that, but Poetry never feels sappy, melodramatic, or cheesy because every part of it feels real and makes the viewer truly ponder what they would do when faced with so many tough life decisions (Don't think you would solve such issues so quickly, as Poetry presents them in a way that makes you think twice). Every emotion is real, every situation is down to Earth, and nothing is easy to fix. With these elements contained within the plot, Poetry is certainly not something you can forget even if you were to only see it once in your life, but it will stay with you forever.

The acting is also incredible, especially from Yun Junghee as Mija. Her performance was never anything bombastic or overwrought, but it was powerful through how she quietly conveyed her emotions. Even during the quiet scenes of reflection, she makes you believe in her performance and she commands the screen with ease. The other cast members are also top notch, even in minor roles, but Yun Junghee is the shining star in a group of greats and her performance is not something that can ever be forgotten. It's easily among the greatest film performances I've ever seen, and I've seen many great performances.

Poetry has a superb story that expertly explores complex situations, characters who are not only fleshed out, but also feel very real, amazing acting, beautiful direction, stunning visuals, terrific music, and emotions that will hit at the very core of your soul because of their tremendous impact. It's something that will make you feel alive as you travel on an emotionally complex journey with the character and feel everything that she does. You will be absorbed and you will feel everything. It's truly one of the greatest dramas not only of a generation, but it should be among the all-time greats of film history itself. It's something that you can't just watch, but it will make you feel like you are a part of the experience that it offers. No true fan of drama should ever miss out on this film, or even lovers of film as a whole and my words will never properly describe the mesmeric experience of watching Poetry. Watch it, and watch it immediately.
July 3, 2014
True to the intent of poetry itself, writer-director Lee Chang-dong renders emotions that seem inexpressible. Lee is chiefly concerned with beauty - its transcendent nature, its presence in nearly everything. Yun, as the title character gives a wrenching abd courageous performance. The poem she delivers at the end of the film will wrench your heart.
June 26, 2014
We follow a lady in her sixties and her grandson. She seem to be like most old asian people - glad and caring. Well, things happen and we follow her dealing with her life, participating poetry lessions and coping with her sudden family drama. On top of it all - now diagnozed with alzheimers.

An amazing job by the lead actor.
A gripping and powerful performance. This is a slow burner that never feel dragged out or too long. It's lovely directed and filmed and it's slowly building up to a great finale. A complex film and naturally a very poetic film and I found it very inspiring and beautiful. Human and natural, subtle but still masterful. It would be wrong to say that there are not much going on here, but it can feel that way at times.

I know this one is going to stay with me for a long time. A great Korean flick that shouldn't be missed.

8.5 out of 10 badminton shuttlecocks.
May 27, 2014
slowly paced and a bit too long I liked this story of an eldery lady who wants to write poetry.
May 8, 2014
This South Korean drama, which won the Best Screenplay award at Cannes, is quite a brilliant movie. It's beautifully understated and restrained, but quite powerful and sad. In terms of films about aging, it's so much better than Michael Haneke's brilliantly acted but ultimately ugly and empty Amour. This is one of the best films about an older (mid-to-late 60s) female protagonist I've ever seen, if not the best.

The film follows a tough month in the life of Mija (Yun Junghee), a quiet woman who is just beginning to suffer from signs Alzheimer's disease. She's got a lot of issues to deal with; in addition to the onset of Alzheimer's, she takes care of her grandson, an ungrateful little monster; she works part-time taking care of an elderly stroke victim; and other problems surface which I won't mention here. In spit of it all, however, she still decides to take a 1-month adult-education class on poetry writing; her greatest ambition is to write just one good poem.

This is the first film I've seen by any of the people involved. Chang-dong Lee wrote and directed it, and his work is quietly masterful. You wonder how or if he's going to tie all the various story strands together; but trust me, he does, in subtle and unexpected ways. Most of the other South Korean films I've seen so far have been either violent thrillers or horror movies; this movie, while surprisingly dark, has more in common with neorealist cinema than with the pulpy genre-driven films South Korea is best known for. Yun Junghee plays Mija, and she is really terrific. We never quite get into the character's head, but she remains fascinating to watch, and easy to care for. I read than Junghee was a major star in Korea in the 1960s and 70s, but hadn't acted in 16 years before making this film. That's amazing, considering how natural and convincing her work here is.

I've probably made this sound like an eat-your-vegetables type of movie, something respectable but dry. Trust me, this movie is completely absorbing and a great experience to watch. It's on Netflix Instant.
April 25, 2014
A shattering tale about an elderly woman seeking reprieve from poetry after discovering a heinous family crime and that she's been stricken with dementia. This is a perfectly rendered film about a quietly noble woman from the consistently great Lee Chang-Dong. Her searing poem at the end will move you to tears.
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