Not for the faint of heart, Riceboy Sleeps is one of the finest films of the last few years. The coming-of-age story takes on many themes involving race, identity, and family while remaining an incredibly personal and original testament to the experience of an immigrant mother and son. It provides an insight into a world otherwise impossible to fathom. Excellent camera perspectives throughout and beautifully shot, following each character almost too long but with a beautiful intent. The aspect ratio changes several times throughout and appears to be on real film stock, giving marvelous saturation to each scene and the degree of realism is nearly unmatched, but could be likened to films including The Florida Project and Moonlight. It's a very tough and touching movie. I saw this by chance in the Madrid Film Festival and feel so lucky! I would not have known! Shim is a wonderful director and I can't recommend this highly enough.
Drama / Family
Drama / Family
Set in the 90s, a Korean single mother raises her young son in the suburbs of Canada determined to provide a better life for him than the one she left behind.
May 25, 2023 at 08:36 AM
A gorgeous and hard-hitting film
Beautifully told story
In a movie world seemingly saturated with hyperbolic movies, this comes as a welcome surprise. This movie has no worm holes, no fight scenes that keep going even though the recipient of such violence would've perished in the first 5 seconds, no rags to riches, no spandex, no fancy anything, and yet it still delivers!
Good storytelling. Great acting. Clever cinematography. The sweeping camera work and frame changes was used very effectively.
As a white Canadian boy, I thought the movie did an excellent job with racial discrimination. It wasn't forced on the viewer, and yet it showed how these subtle (and not so subtle) biases affect minorities almost daily. The movie also did a great job of showing how painfully unaware us white Canadians were/are of how impactful these displays of ignorance are. Stanley Park.
What makes this movie though, is the plight of a single mother and son. Great chemistry between these 2 (3) actors. A perfectly paced arc of their growth together.
Brilliant movie. I hope it gets picked up by streaming so more people can see it.
OK immigrant story
A single mother and her young son immigrate from Korea to Canada, and she struggles (and reasonably succeeds) in making a new life and adjusting to their new surroundings. The story is told in 3 acts. First is when the son enters Grade 1, second is when he is a teenager in Canada, and third is when she takes him to Korea to learn about his roots.
The director gives memorable sweeping vistas of Korea, as opposed to the more gritty views of life in Canada. But neither country is fully accepting, and it is interesting to see the hypocrisy of a school that tolerates verbal assaults, but has zero tolerance of physical assault. Things do get easier as more immigrants arrive, and life becomes less lonely.
There are interesting vignettes of Korean culture, but they do not seem to drive the plot forward, and there are major loose ends.