Review: “Missing” – A Film Exploring Motherhood, Loss, And Struggles Of Social Outcasts
Up until just recently, I hadn’t heard anything about the 2016 film “Missing” whatsoever. I suppose it just wasn’t promoted as well to international viewers as it could have been, which is quite unfortunate. For those who don’t know much about the film, I’ll give you the rundown.
The movie stars Uhm Ji Won as Lee Ji Sun, a working single mother whose busy life makes seeing her only daughter, Da Eun, near impossible. To help out with the child, she hires a young nanny going by the name Han Mae, played by Gong Hyo Jin. However, the situation suddenly turns dire when the nanny and daughter go missing just as Ji Sun is about to lose the battle for her daughter’s custody. “Missing” is an excellent mystery film that explores the psyche of a frantic mother who is willing to do anything to get her kid back.
Here are a couple reasons why this film is definitely worth the watch.
The high quality acting
I have to give real props to Uhm Ji Won and Gong Hyo Jin for their incredible acting in this project. Not that the rest of the cast wasn’t good, of course, but as the two leads, these women really knocked it out of the park.
From the get-go, Uhm Ji Won accurately portrays the feelings of terror and desperation that must come with losing your child. Although I found her character’s actions to be a bit frustrating at times, her mistakes were understandable and ultimately added to Ji Sun’s realism.
Gong Hyo Jin, on the other hand, perfectly balanced the attributes of the kind-yet-clumsy nanny who turns out to be mentally unstable enough to kidnap the child she was meant to look after. If I was the director, I wouldn’t have cast it any other way.
The relevant and accurate portrayal of women
Not only are the two leads women, but the whole premise of the film is based around experiences that could be a reality for many women today. “Missing” conveys the truth of mothers who love fiercely and fight with the utmost courage.
There are times when Ji Sun is incoherent with panic over the safety of her daughter, and there are moments when she is headstrong and fearless. Our protagonist does not quite fit the “strong, independent woman” mold, but she isn’t a damsel-in-distress either. Above all, Ji Sun is a developed, non-trope-y character who befits the story being told. This film is not necessarily one of female empowerment, but it is a good, real narrative that touches on relevant issues for women.
The antagonist isn’t all bad
One thing that I really enjoyed about the writing of “Missing” is how Han Mae ends up being a multi-dimensional character. I won’t give any spoilers, so I’ll just say that you can definitely sympathize with her in the end, despite her status as the antagonist. She isn’t simply a baby snatcher who is meant to be condemned; her story is one of an unlucky Chinese immigrant whose good intentions became her own undoing. The line between right and wrong is blurred here, making the film more intriguing and applicable to real life.
The engaging and suspenseful plot
Even from the beginning, there was never a moment when I was bored while watching this movie. There are no lulls in the plot, and it didn’t feel rushed in any way either. Although there are a few scary moments here and there, the cinematography certainly doesn’t rely on cheap jump scares or cliffhangers to hold the audience’s interest. In short, the film does a good job of keeping you guessing, but it isn’t too emotionally harrowing in the way that some crime dramas are. However, that doesn’t mean you won’t shed a few tears while watching!
If you’re a fan of “Whisper” and other crime dramas, then this film is right up your alley. The film is only an hour and a half, so don’t worry about it being a time investment!
Watch “Missing” below:
jadicus35 is a ordinary college student by day, and a not-so-closet fangirl by night. She spends her time on Tumblr when she’s not (but really should be) studying and/or pretending to be a functional human being.