22 May 2008 | threeJane
The title I saw it under, *My Teacher, Mr Kim*, indicates that it is from the point of view of the student(s). However, it is really Mr Kim who is the subject of this film, as he undergoes an epiphany and radical transformation.
I loved the character of Mr Kim. He starts off as selfish and shallow in so many ways, and really made me wonder how much more I could achieve if I thought of myself less often.
Mr Choi was an excellent character too, and Sun-Young the high-school drop-out city girlfriend of Mr Kim. However the character of the school caretaker was developed for no apparent reason, the children were indistinguishable from each other, and their parents just cardboard cut-outs.
Fair enough, but why then the reverent attitude to Mr Kim by the end of the film? As far as I could see, there just wasn't enough to explain the children's love for him. He left them to study alone far too much, and played soccer with them far too little, for them to love him as they did. The best thing he did for them, was spend his white-envelope money on gifts for them, and this really wasn't a materialistic type of film.
Which reminds me, there were some really nice ironic moments. Like when Mr Kim is sitting with his students in the beautiful countryside, next to a clear stream, all of them smoking fish on sticks, and he is telling them of all the modern conveniences that Seoul has to offer.
So, some good, some bad, largely predictable but not entirely so, see it if the subject matter or the location interest you - otherwise you could probably give it a miss.