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.
What are people saying?
What are critics saying?
It comes together neatly, perhaps too neatly to be … poetry. But it's not prosaic, either. It has a lucid grace.
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.
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.
Yun is quite simply spectacular as a woman who holds steadfastly on to her dignity and empathy, even in the face of unspeakable tragedy.
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 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.
A perfectly paced and performed character study of a woman raising a child on her own who must contend with a heinous act of violence.
Whenever all the pieces are in place, though, Lee reverts to the kind of storytelling he does best.
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.