Return to Seoul shed some loving realizations from the plot and the context of the story alone. From the in-depth opening the themes of loneliness and disconnect are apparent. There is also a sense of reconnection through the film’s compelling story. However, the film does not provide all the answers its audience will expect. Return To Seoul has a juxtaposition where most of the film goes downhill. Five words to describe Return to Seoulare, “A turn for the worse.” That turn is due to the main character who fails to take steps to resolve the underlying problems which consume her mind.
The film is focused on a girl named Freddie who is in her mid-twenties. She is Korean but was raised in France. She was adopted by a French couple when she was young. She decides to embark on a journey to track down her biological parents which proves to be emotional. She has two weeks in Korea and what she can to locate her real parents. She has some luck, but it is not what she expects. She meets her father played by Oh Kwang-rok. Freddie does not speak Korean, so her friend Tena (played by Guka Han) translates for her. Freddie also has an aunt played by Kim Sun-young. In Freddie’s eyes, her father and her aunt seem oblivious which causes Freddie to feel disconnected.
Unfortunately, the film lacks positive revelations because of how Freddie’s behavior starts to worsen when she is dissatisfied with the results of meeting her biological family. Freddie is increasingly frustrated as she continues to spend time with her biological family. All of this creates sadness on her journey with no bright light. Return to Seoul is a portrait of how life can be without biological parents. For Freddie there are traditions she has never been part of, a language barrier with her biological family which causes her to believe that there is no benefit to establishing a real connection.
The film does have some qualities that are appealing in style when focused on Freddie. Return to Seoul paints a clear picture of her emotions. The opening emphasizes her introverted modeand the audience also sees her modes of being a social butterfly as well as someone who has potential to do a lot with her life. All the positive qualities that Freddie seems to possess continue to deteriorate when meeting her biological family goes awry. As she tries to make a meaningful connection, the disconnect she experiences only heightens her sadness.
The film also portrays tensions caused by cultural differencesbecause Freddie has been raised in France, but is Korean. Freddie is told she has, “Pure Korean traits,” and she is also told,“If you learn Korean, it will be easier.” This adds fuel to the fire in Return to Seoul and leads to a path of destruction for Freddie.From my perspective, the film does not have to take such a drastic turn for the worse.
I thought the film Return to Seoul would tell a more meaningful story of reconnection. It may in some brief moments, but overall, there is a sad outcome. While Freddie’s world is turning against her, she is also turning against herself. The film is lacking in positive aspects. Two and a half stars for Return to Seoul.