RETURN TO SEOUL – A Review by Jenn Rohm
Currently, with 19 nominations and 9 wins Return to Soul is making some buzz. This is the story of a young woman who was put up for adoption in South Korea and upon adoption was raised in France. She has come to Seoul in search of connections. The piece spans almost 10 years of her life and the audience watches choices being made. I am not a licensed therapist, and I did not stay at a Holiday Inn last night so I will not be giving my opinion on the choices.
One of the mind-bends for me is the use of at least three different languages, Korean, French, and a little English. Luckily, there are subtitles to be able to follow along. It helped provide a bit of understanding of what Freddie (Park Ji-min) was experiencing as at the start she does not know much, if any, Korean. So having others help translate into languages they were not always 100% confident in was a shared experience at that moment.
I am not sure if it was a style choice or a cultural choice, the pacing of the movie was very slow to me. While the run time is shy of two hours it felt much longer watching it. There were a few scenes that although beautifully shot, did not add much to the story for the time they were given. One is in her first few days in Korea, she is out with Tena (Giuka Han) and a guy she was seeing. After talking to the DJ, a song comes on and the lyrics give some insight into what she could be feeling at the moment. Her dancing for the whole song could have been just as powerful with one-fourth of the scene.
This movie is going to stick with me for a bit, and I already know I will have some “what if’s”, “why didn’t she”, and “what happened to” thoughts across the next few weeks. There is a reason this film is being nominated and winning awards and I am happy for all involved in the project that this is happening for them. I do give this 3.5 stars.
Director: Davy Chou
Cast: Park Ji-min, Oh Kwang-Ok, Guka Han,
MPAA Rating: R (brief drug use, nudity, and language)
Selig Rating: 3.5 stars.
Runtime: 1 h 55 m
Local Release Date: March 3, 2023
Local Release Locations: Angelika – both locations
Trailer: Return to Seoul 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.