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Broker Review


“His films embrace the mystery of life and encourage us to think about why we are here, and what makes us truly happy.”

-Roger Ebert

The words film critic Roger Ebert (1942-2013) used to describe Hirokazu Koreeda’s films hold true to this day. Koreeda is a director with a vision to have his films’ characters placed in situations impacted by society. His film Broker is a film of human feelings. Koreeda’s eye for artistic direction is thought-provoking. He tackles conflicts with society from a heartfelt perspective. Koreeda took audiences on a questionable and dazzling journey with Shoplifters (2018). He does so again with Broker which is a cinematic experience where love and sacrifice are looked upon deeply. The film has inevitable consequences, and it all comes down to the challenge of making the right choice.

Broker takes place in South Korea. The film introduces us to a mother named So-young (played by Ji-eun Lee). So-young carries her baby Woo-sung to a church to be adopted. She changes her mind when she realizes that an active group could try to sell her child. There are two guys who are part of the operation named Sang-hyeon and Dong-Soo (played by Song Kang-ho and Dong-won Gang). As So-young explains her difficult situation, the men realize they have a mission to help So-young find the right family for her child. This causes the group to flee with Woo-sung on a road trip. On this trip, their goal is to to find a family that can give Woo-sung a life that So-young cannot provide.

Two detectives discreetly follow them on their journey. The detectives are Soo-jin and Lee (played by Bae Doona and Lee Joo-young). On the road trip, So-young feels all kinds of guilt and frustration, but she also feels like a true mother the more time she spends with Sang-hyeon, Dong-Soo, and her baby. The most moving parts of Broker involve the realizations of how someone can change their life and how someone can help another person find a better life. Broker is deep and fascinating throughout its portrayal of a tough and emotional road trip.

As So-young tries to find a family to adopt her child, my feelings for herstarted to warm my heart. The writing in the film portrays that So-young is selective and difficult concerning who may adopt her child. What I realized is that she is not a bad mother, she just can’t take good care of her child at her current stage of life. However, that does not mean she will never be able to. The connections she makes with Sang-hyeon and Dong-Soo drive her to keep thinking of her options during their road trip. With the detectives on them, So-young begins to put her errors, her legalities, and benefits together. The hardest part is that regardless of what So-young does right for Woo-sung, she will still suffer consequences. Broker is about So-young being able to handle the mental anguish she may suffer, while at the same time knowing her child will be in a better place with food, safety, and care until she can pay for her errors.

I love films that create a dynamic that involves cultural challenges, and Broker does just that. The themes of tough love, life’s challenges, and new beginnings are where Broker finds its meaning. The message is found in the many drastic choices that come along in the film and the ultimate decision is in the hands of So-young. The detectives find themselves in a blur regarding how to handle the situation because there is nothing wrong with what Sang-Lyeon, Dong-Soo, and So-young are trying to do. They simply want to help So-young’s child live a fulfilling life.

In the scenery of the film, the audience will experience images of what may play out for So-young. As her mindset shifts during the road trip, she feels she is in good hands with Sang-Lyeon and Dong-Soo. They create a tight bond and love spending time together. In addition to the film’s goal of finding a new family for So-young’s child, the story also creates a wealth of positive vibes on this unexpected adventure the three of them find themselves on. Broker is a ride about making friends and uncovering realizations in unlikely places.

Broker dazzles its audience with a story about making choices. I love the thriving characters of the Sang-Lyeon, Dong-Soo, and So-young. The mission to help an infant find a life that cannot be fulfilled is displayed with the most poetic energy I have seen from Koreeda. Broker is breathtaking as it portrays a path of empathy and compassion in its character development and its writing.  The entire story is a beautiful one of humanistic value. Four stars for Broker.