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Korea · 2010
2h 19m
Director Lee Chang-dong
Starring Yoon Jeong-hee, Lee Da-wit, Kim Hee-ra, Ahn Nae-sang
Genre Drama

In this moving drama, Mija is a part-time caretaker who struggles to raise her teenage grandson alone. One day, she enrolls in a poetry class, but her venture into the written word is interrupted — first by early signs of Alzheimer’s, then by the consequences of her grandson’s shocking actions.

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What are people saying?

Kelsey Thomas Profile picture for Kelsey Thomas

Gentle, aching, lyrical — the critics say it best. Mija is tested, first by her diagnosis, then by her grandson’s immorality (in addition to his immaturity). She faces both with dignity and grace, and her efforts to find beauty in the ugliest places are admirable, even if her pace is agonizing.

What are critics saying?


The Hollywood Reporter by

Not everyone will wax lyrical about this enigmatic and troubling film, which is also Chan-dong's most slow-moving one. But those with an eye for reading between the lines can find layers of meaning.


IndieWire by Eric Kohn

It may go without saying that Poetry adopts a lyrical tone, but this forms the crux of its appeal. In this case, the title says it all.


Variety by Justin Chang

Calmer and less shattering than his masterly psychodrama "Secret Sunshine" (2007), Poetry is a deceptively gentle tale with a tender ache at its center, as well as a performance from Yun Jung-hee that lingers long in the memory.


Time Out by Keith Uhlich

Yun is quite simply spectacular as a woman who holds steadfastly on to her dignity and empathy, even in the face of unspeakable tragedy.


Entertainment Weekly by Lisa Schwarzbaum

Facing a diagnosis of Alzheimer's, the older woman enrolls in a poetry class, desperate to find the words to describe beauty before language fails her. She does even better: She herself becomes a kind of poem about what it means to really see the world.


The New York Times by Manohla Dargis

The importance of seeing, seeing the world deeply, is at the heart of this quietly devastating, humanistic work from the South Korean filmmaker Lee Chang-dong.


New York Post by V.A. Musetto

Poetry, which rightfully won the best-screenplay prize at Cannes, never resorts to exploitation. Under Lee's guidence, it is a mature film for mature audiences.

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