Dave's Rating:

5.0

… a thoroughly satisfying whole.

Who's in It: Taegu Andy Kang, Bokja Kim, Gina Kim, Jiseon Kim, Mike Park, Nathan Rodriguez, Virginia Wu

The Basics: A teenage Korean girl relocated to a bleakly wintry Canada finds herself both intensely isolated and nursing an unresolved crush on her best male friend. He, in turn, is more into the "Americanized" Korean girls he knows. But it's not a culture-clash dramedy or anything. It's kind of like what would happen if My So-Called Life was (a) on TV right now and (b) stripped to the bone and (c) exclusively about those weird life moments when you can't quite put your finger on how you're feeling.

What's the Deal? Movies about teenagers (unless they're Superbad or the awesome 2001 film Our Song) tend to take the wrong steps. They're melodramatic or they're all spelled out for you or the kid winds up learning some valuable lesson. So this one is nearly perfectly not any of those things. And that it's set during a Canadian winter is about as "sensitive teen angst" as you can get. Yet even that isn't annoyingly self-indulgent.

What It Is: Quiet and not quite tangible without being vague, precise but not cold, melancholy but not mopey, focused on ordinary experiences and full of missing pieces that still winds up feeling like a thoroughly satisfying whole.

Where It Comes From: First-time feature director So Yong Kim, co-written by Kim and Bradley Rust Gray. It's a tiny little film, slowly making its way from art-house to art-house, so seek it out. You'll be very glad you did.

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