Korean DVD review: FAMILY MART
While entertaining friends, Yun-hui (Kim Yeon-soo) and Chan-yeong (No Joon-ho) announce their divorce. After 14 years as a couple, their friends are shocked by the decision to slice their picture-perfect marriage in half. They don’t love each other as husband and wife, but want to remain friends and maintain a family with their son, Jeong-won (Lee Hyeon-joon).
One day when Yun-hui is in a jam, her old friend Seon-yeong (Kim Hyeon-sook) volunteers to babysit Jeong-won. Seon-yeong happens to be in a depressed state after having recently left her lover in Busan to pursue a painting career. Without a residence during her exhibition in Jeonju, Chan-yeong suggests that she stay with Yun-hui to help out.
It works out so well that Yun-hui asks her to move in so they can assist each other during their respective familial struggles. Seon-yeong eventually evolves into a surrogate “parent” for Jeong-son, even attending Parent’s Day at his school.
Yun-hui and Chan-yeong are divorced, but still act like a family on the surface. They sought divorce only to satisfy others’ understanding of their wishes to spend time away from each other — but at the same time maintain their “family.”
While pursuing another woman, Chan-yeong tries to balance the multiple lovers in his life, but the situation quickly turns disastrous. He realizes that he is losing his son and being replaced by Seon-yeong. Simultaneously, Yun-hui recognizes her decreased role as a parent. She is losing her motherly role and ultimately seeks resolve. The couple devises a get-away just for the two of them to try to reconcile their broken family.
Unique in plot, the film has a slow narrative culminating in an uneventful finale. The slow moving narrative — in which everyday life is portrayed — involves few major events. A slight twist does not justify the build-up, leaving one unfulfilled.
Acting as a saving grace from an uneventful script, the cinematography adds dimension to “Family Mart.”
Camera angles, specifically those from a first-person perspective, are simplistic, but offer an independent, artsy vibe; hard cuts and panning offer welcome changes; long cuts allow the movie to flow fluently; finally, very simple sets and costuming create a realistic experience.
Expecting anything more than an anticlimactic drama would be a mistake. With this understanding, an enjoyable 90 minutes could be in store if the genre interests the viewer.