Kim Ji-Young, Born 1982 (2019) Movie Review: A Story About Women & Postpartum Depression

Posted under Movies On By Ihasopia

Have you ever heard and already know about postpartum depression or what is also known as postpartum depression ? Postpartum depression is different from the baby blues. If you are still unfamiliar with the issue of postpartum depression, the film Kim Ji-Young, Born 1982 can help you learn to know and understand. Moreover, not many feature films have raised this issue.

Kim Ji-Young, Born 1982 Movie Review (2019)

Kim Ji-Young, Born 1982 is a film adaptation of the bestselling novel by South Korean female writer Cho Nam-Joo of the same name. This film tells the story of a woman in her 30s who turns out to be suffering from postpartum depression after giving birth to her first child, Jung Dae-Hyun, was the first to notice his wife’s change and was anxious to guess what was happening to her.

Every detail of the scene from the beginning of the film is narrated in detail and carefully to be able to give a comprehensive picture of what happened. The prologue opens with a scene where Kim Ji-Young is so busy doing household chores, this and that, then after finishing, he goes to calm down and rest with a sad and empty face on the balcony of the house. Not long ago, he realized that he had to go back into the house and get back to doing household chores, when his son called him ‘mama’. A very clever prologue to a film that focuses on the issue of postpartum depression.

The way of depiction of postpartum depression in this film is also very emotional and plays a role. From taking pictures and descriptions of scene situations, to dialogues between characters. The strong deep characterization of Jung Yu-Mi who plays the main character (Kim Ji-Young) also deserves appreciation. One of them is how the scene shifts quickly and suddenly, from Kim Ji-Young who laughs (although a bit forced) while chatting with friends from his ex-office, to Kim Ji-Young who sits depressed alone at home. The scene was then immediately continued with the scene of Kim Ji-Young running around in a panic and tired of being late to pick up her child at daycare. Do not forget, of scenes where Kim Ji-Young suddenly acts like someone else and often forgets what happened. There are also scenes where Kim Ji-Young is alone at home, with a mood that looks empty and sad. The depiction of postpartum depression in this film is so clear and blatant.

In Kim Ji-Young’s story, her husband takes a pro-active role in responding to his wife’s changes. Jung Dae-Hyun is arguably supportive, offering his wife to try seeking professional (psychiatric) help and offering to take parental leave so she can work again .Jung Dae-Hyun also no longer puts a stigma on mental health and visits to psychiatry, when Kim Ji-Young is described as still unfamiliar with mental health problems. However, in this film, the relationship between Jung Dae-Hyun and Kim Ji-Young as husband and wife also doesn’t turn out to be that good either: this film also explains how gender biases still color the early days of their married life.

Not only about postpartum depression, this film also highlights many other issues and provides criticism of the gender bias that still occurs in today’s society. In particular, what a woman experiences after marriage, in her roles as wife, mother, and daughter-in-law. However, these things are also connected and affect the problem of postpartum depression. We can listen to several scenes in the film Kim Ji-Young, Born 1982 which describes in detail how a mother-in-law can treat her daughter-in-law arbitrarily like a housemaid.There is also a tendency to place more importance on and privilege their sons than their daughters-in-law, who logically have also become their children after marrying their sons. the responsibilities of women, even by all the dictates of the patriarchal system in society regarding women.

There are also issues of violence against women that are neatly wrapped and embedded to complete the storyline. The story about the sexual harassment that Kim Ji-Young experienced when she was a teenager on the bus (and she was blamed by her father for the experience), the story about the hidden cameras that mashers placed in the girls’ bathroom (which made Kim Ji-Young anxious when using a public bathroom), a story about how Kim Ji-Young’s father prioritized his son over his two daughters (gender discrimination in the family due to patriarchy).

Closer to the Figure of Kim Ji-Young

“I think it’s good to live like this as someone else’s mom, someone else’s wife. I feel happy sometimes. But sometimes I feel like I’m locked in somewhere.”

— Kim Ji-Young, in Kim Ji-Young, Born 1982
Kim Ji-Young is actually a woman with big ambitions. She had hoped to become a wife and mother who continued to work and have a career in the public sphere (we can watch flashback scenesback to the days when she was still working in a PR firm and not married)—but as it turned out, that in itself was pretty tough after she got pregnant. So, when she has to be a housewife who just stays at home and takes care of children, Kim Ji-Young feels a serious emptiness and boredom. The routine of housewives is clearly like an endless cycle for all women: washing, cleaning, cooking. Done and must be done again, done and must be done again, every day. Especially when it comes to taking care of babies, mothers don’t have time to rest. In this film, it is described several times how Kim Ji-Young just wanted to sit alone and unwind, when her toddler called. Although there are women who enjoy this routine,

In this case, marriage becomes a strange thing. In the film, it is told that Kim Ji-Young has objected since the discussion about having children was discussed by her husband, after those who were newlyweds had been urged and questioned by extended families about children. Sure enough, taking care of children is not a trivial matter. Talks about who will take care of the children if the husband and wife work until her husband’s proposal to take parental leave also surfaced. When Jung Dae-Hyun (Kim Ji-Young’s husband) had agreed to take turns with his wife taking care of the children by taking parental leaveso that his wife could return to work in the public sphere, it was her mother’s turn (the mother-in-law) who did not agree with the change in roles which she still considered unnatural. In Kim Ji-Young, Born 1982, the reality that marriage is also about complicated relationships with extended families, especially for families in Asia and Eastern countries (including Indonesia), is narrated very well.

The character of Kim Ji-Young in the film Kim Ji-Young, Born 1982 represents women who have to grapple with the problem of postpartum depression, women who feel trapped in the endless and often tedious cycle of household work, women who actually aspire to be successful in the public sphere but inevitably have to be constrained by the conditions in their marriage.