Sundance Film Review: Seoul Searching

Posted January 29, 2015 in
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Seoul Searching
Photo: Seoul Searching

Seoul Searching
Sundance Film Festival

Director: Benson Lee


In an attempt to have foreign-born teenagers become reacquainted with their native culture, the South Korean government developed a summer camp program complete with lessons in language, calligraphy and martial arts (to name a few). Based on a true story, director Benson Lee introduces us to the 1986 class of misfits comprised of the punk (Justin Chon), the princess (Jessika Van), the ladies man (Esteban Ahn), the conservative (Teo Yoo), and the racist military brat (Albert Kong), all of whom are under the guidance and supervision of Mr. Kim (In-Pyo Cha). As the students drink, sneak off campus, fight with opposing schools, and fall in love, they all face their inner demons and discover what it means to be Korean. Lee gives a revitalized version of “Meatballs” with heart and soul, and the 80s soundtrack is one of the best compilations I have heard from a movie in years. The standout comedic performance comes from Ahn’s Sergio from Mexico, but it’s Chon’s bad boy with a heart of gold that leaves you wanting more. While the government eventually shut the program down due to the rowdiness, here’s hoping we’ll get a chance to see the class of 1987 next year! -Jimmy Martin

Screening Times:

Time: Friday, Jan. 30 @ 8:30 p.m. Venue: The MARC, Park City

Time: Saturday, Jan. 31 @ 5:30 p.m. Venue: Library Center Theatre, Park City

Time: Sunday, Feb. 1 @ 3 p.m. Venue: Tower Theatre, Salt Lake City