ALONERS – A Review by Jenn Rohm
Currently, in Seoul, Korea one-third of households have single occupancy. The term in South Korea for the lifestyle of people that prefer to participate in day-to-day activities by themselves is holojok (holo = alone and jok=group). Hong Sune-eun’s debut film Aloners is a beautiful portrayal of one woman living her life this way.
Jina (Geon Seung-Yeon) is the top performer at her call center job. Going through her day outside of being on calls she barely engages with others around her. Using technology as a distraction she has developed a routine to make it from one day to the next allowing her to be alone yet not lonely. When tasked with training a new employee she pauses and thinks being fired might be preferable to interacting with another human face-to-face. Along with the new co-worker trying to make a connection Jina’s Father and neighbor are also reaching out to her.
The filming itself was done before the pandemic, yet I am seeing more and more people shutting themselves off from others. This is a good choice of film to watch and have a deep and insightful conversation with others afterward. Why are we so willing to put in earbuds and focus on our phones instead of the world around us? What are the risks of saying Hello? Why is there so much stress at the thought of another person saying no to a lunch invitation? What are the differences between being lonely and being alone?
Note this film is an introspective piece and not a big summer blockbuster. Others have said the film is slow-paced. I did not find this to be the case, life does not actually move at the speed of an action movie. The film has moments of silence where what you see on the screen itself moves the story along. Supporting Jina’s limited bubble very few locations were used in the filming. These include a ramen shop where orders are placed on a computer and delivered without conversation, her job, and her barely furnished apartment.
I personally found the movie beautiful in its telling. If you have the opportunity to see it, do.
Director: Hong Seong-eun
Written By: Hong Seong-eun
Cast: Gong Seung-yeon, Jeong Da-eun, Seo Hyun-woo, Jeon-hak Park
Language: Korean with English Subtitles
Selig Rating: 4 stars
Runtime: 1 hr. 31 min.
Digital Release Date: June 9, 2023
Trailer: Aloners Trailer
The Selig Rating Scale:
5 Stars – Excellent movie/show, well worth the time and price.
4 Stars – Good movie/show
3 Stars – OK movie/show
2 Stars – Well there was nothing else . . .
1 Star – Total waste of time.