K-Movie Review: A Woman Survives Abusive Life In ‘Miss Baek’

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Get To Know More About Actress Han Ji-min’s Movie, Miss Baek!

Most South Korean movies are either romance, drama, or action films. This time, we’re going to check out a different type of movie, that you should added to your watch list on weekend! Actress Han Ji-min, who was popular for her role in the drama Rooftop Prince (Park Ha/Hong Bu-yong) in 2012, starred in the movie titled Miss Baek (2018).

Let’s find out more about this movie’s storyline and the cast members in this article below!

Synopsis

Miss Baek (hangul: 미쓰백) is a South Korean movie which aired on October 11, 2018, and was directed by Lee Ji-won. This movie was produced by Kang Ga-mi and starred great actors like Han Ji-min, Kim Si-A, and Lee Hee-joon. The movie who was distributed by Little Big Pictures, and has a running time of 98 minutes.

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People never really leave their past behind. Even so, a person’s past cannot guarantee how he behaves in the present or the future. This is what happened to Baek Sang-Ah (Han Ji-min). This young woman has experienced violence by her mother (Jang Young-Nam). She ended up growing up in an orphanage. In her teenage years she was forced to hurt someone who abused her.

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The criminal record that she got as a result of the incident couldn’t be escaped just like that. There was only one person who didn’t care about Baek Sang-Ah’s criminal record, the police officer who handled the case first, Jang-sub (Lee Hee-joon).

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Baek Sang-Ah’s life is heavily colored by her past. Her hatred of her mother kept growing until she got news of her mother’s death. One day, she saw a small child sitting in front of a store on a cold night. Although she had a cold heart, she invited the child, Kim Ji-eun (Kim Shi-A), to eat. Ji-eun was picked up by a woman, Joo Mi-kyung (Kwon So-hyun), and Baek Sang-Ah realized Ji-eun didn’t live like ordinary children. Her body was filled with bruises and wounds.

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Since that night, Baek Sang-Ah thought about Ji-eun. The two met again and they went to the playground at the beach. Baek Sang-Ah also bought Ji-eun new clothes. But Baek Sang-Ah didn’t want to bring Ji-eun home. As soon as the girl went home, Baek Sang-Ah saw for herself that Ji-eun was being tortured by her father and her father’s girlfriend, and reported it. But because of her criminal record, she was the one the police suspected for the child’s injuries.

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Baek Sang-Ah planned to move to another city, wanting to start a new life, but her mind was fixed on Ji-eun. Ji-eun tried to run away from her house. Both of them finally hid. Baek Sang-Ah promised to protect Ji-Eun, and Ji-eun will protect Baek Sang-Ah.

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This film shows that violence against children is a vicious circle. Ji-eun’s father experienced abuse as a child. When he had a child of his own, he repeated the violence he experienced. It takes hard work for us to break the vicious cycle of violence.

This film also teaches us that a person’s past is not always the same as that person’s present or future. Everyone has the opportunity to change for the better, regardless of their past. Miss Baek, which had a budget of around ₩800.000 to ₩900.000, received a lot of praise from the audience. Meanwhile, the film also managed to get a perfect rating from the audience and many gave a rating on the film 10/10.

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Miss Baek is a dancing film, I don’t know if this is because the purpose is different but there are no random scenes, this film is an extraordinary work,” commented one of the viewers. One citizen commented that withdrawing Miss Baek from South Korean cinema would be very unfortunate.

Carrying the theme of child abuse, Miss Baek managed to push into the top three South Korean box office top performers, by scooping up 450000 viewers. But their target audience actually reached 900.000. CGV is currently in a debate whether to withdraw the film 26 days after its initial release, or keep showing it. Withdrawing it would be considered very unfortunate by those who have already seen the film.

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There are lots of interesting things in this film. One, in particular, is the description of Baek Sang-Ahh, who is calm and hard, but can throw tantrums – truly charming acting on the screen. Miss Baek‘s director, Lee Ji-Won, won praise for the femme fatale, but she developed the noir trope and gave it an added layer of meaning.

Miss Baek is someone else’s accessory, and that fact becomes clear in the cruel battle sequence at the end. The sad misrepresentation of the grim and acidic aesthetics of the cinematography gives audiences a glimpse into the underbelly of the South Korean working class. Miss Baek is a stunning feature that moves one moment like sugar syrup, another like lightning, with a fresh but economical script: there are no useless words here.

Cast

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Han Ji-min played the character of Baek Seung-Ah

Han Ji-min is an actress who left a strong impression as a female activist when she starred in The Age of Shadows (2016). She is also a top Korean actress who plays in the Korean drama Familiar Wife (2018). However, her action in this film will definitely be different from anything she played in the drama.

She plays as an inmate character in Miss Baek. This is very interesting, because her role is so very different from the drama and film she starred in before. As quoted by Jppn from Soompi, BH Entertainment said that Han Ji-min had decided to appear in the film Miss Baek.

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After she was released from prison, she became isolated from the outside world because of her status as an ex-convict. However, later she meets a girl and is determined to save her. Acting as a convict character, Han Ji-min is required to be like a criminal and have a cold character.

She plays the protagonist as Baek Sang-Ah, a convict but always tries to protect herself. Seeing Han Ji-min’s character in Miss Baek, many people even judge it with one eye and describe the actress poorly. Han Ji-min spoke up about her being talked about publicly. Han Ji-min said that when she got the offer to do this film and read the script, she wasn’t worried about whether she could play this character, but wondered about whether this role really suited her.

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After reading the script, I asked if this was obtained because I accepted the offer for this role or indeed the agency had found a good script and gave it to me. That’s different from the offer that I got in the past. I thought that was strange and wondered if this really came for me?” said Han Ji-min.

She continued, “I woke up in the middle of the night and read Miss Baek’s script. I think I have felt it emotionally over time, but it feels like something that can happen now. I first felt sorry for Baek Sang-Ah and Ji-eun because of the situation they experienced at a young age. I want to embrace them as adults. Instead of questioning whether I could describe this, I first thought, I really wanted to see this film.

Han Ji-min’s role as Baek Sang-Ah was surprising from the start. The movie’s poster showed her sitting on a ladder on the side of the road, while smoking a cigarette. For some people, maybe seeing this would describe Han Ji-min as a bad woman, but she stated, “Being ugly and acting differently,” she defended.

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In Miss Baek, Han Ji-min had to do a scene that was contrary to her. In the film, Baek Sang-Ah is a heavy smoker, so inevitably Han Ji-min had to smoke throughout the film. This has been the subject of a lot of public discussion, with many people wondering whether Han Ji-min really smoked in real life. Apparently she expected this question and answered it laughingly, “I prepared the answer in a form. Do you want to hear it? I expected the problem of smoking or ‘bad’ since the beginning of the film.

She said, “I understand that viewers want to know about an actress who smokes and I’m sure they want to know whether I’m a smoker in real life or not. But this kind of information doesn’t help before watching ‘Miss Baek.’ I just try my best with every action and move as Baek Sang-Ah. I hope that viewers who watch the film will evaluate me based only on the film.” Now she wants to change her previous image by trying various roles and getting out of her comfort zone all this time. As an actress, she has to work hard to show the best on the screen.

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Lee Hee-joon played Jang-sub

Actor Lee Hee-joon earned a good reputation for acting for his work in the drama Legend of the Blue Sea (2017). In this film he got the lead role as Jang-sub, and his reputation can also raise the audience’s expectations of his acting in the film Miss Baek. He plays the acting opponent of Han Ji-Min, and in the film he’s a man who harbored feelings for female ex-convicts.

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In Miss Baek, Lee Hee Joon plays a man who sympathizes and falls in love with Han Ji-min’s character. He opposed the validity of the world and tries to save Han Ji-min in his own way. He will protect Han Ji-min, both while in prison and after being released from the prison.

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There are also other cast members, such as Kim Shi-A as Kim Ji-eun, Kwon So-Hyun as Joo Mi-kyung, Baek Soo-Jang as Kim Il-gon, Jang Young-Nam, Kim Sun-Young, Lee Joo-Young, Lee Jung-Eun, Jun Suk-Ho, Jo Min-Joon as Detective Kang, and Yoon Song-A who will be played as the character on Miss Baek.