MOVIE | A road adventure about a mother and her baby packs a pro-life message without being heavy-handed
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➤ Rated R for language
➤ Select theaters starting Dec. 26
In the middle of the night, So-young (pop singer Lee Ji-eun) leaves an infant outside the baby box of Busan Family Church in pouring rain. Detective Soo-jin (Doona Bae) sees everything. She’s been keeping an eye on the baby box as she investigates its connection with human trafficking. The detective places the child inside the box, otherwise he might not survive the night. So-young changes her mind and returns for baby Woo-sung, but she ends up joining church worker Dong-soo (Gang Dong-won) and laundry owner Sang-hyun (Song Kang-ho) in finding buyers for her son.
The crew, traveling in a van in search of Woo-sung’s new parents, expands when they discover a stowaway. Hae-jin, a boy from an orphanage, finds out about their ploy, leaving them no choice but to take him along. Through a series of unlikely adventures, the motley crew morphs into a family, the kind that So-young needs to raise Woo-sung with her.
But a murder case, gangsters, and Soo-jin trying to catch them for human trafficking complicate any dreams they might have of settling easily as a happy family.
A refreshing cinematic feat, Broker is pro-life without being heavy-handed or overtly Christian. The stance comes out as viewers learn about the pressures So-young faced while expecting and the decisions she makes. Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda also deftly weaves the stance through the transformations of So-young and Soo-jin.
All the characters in Broker grapple with abandonment—either they are abandoned or the one who abandons. But a moving scene where So-young thanks each of them for being born drives home the point all humans are valuable no matter how checkered our past.
There is no indication that Broker is a Christian movie, nor is it evident that Dong-soo is Christian. While the film neither promotes nor condemns Busan Family Church for having a baby box, it raises questions about whether baby boxes make it easier for mothers to abandon their children.
Broker contains explicit language, but it’s mostly confined to a failed negotiation over the price a couple is willing to pay for Woo-sung. Incensed to hear her baby discussed like a commodity, So-young steps in and lets loose the expletives.
Despite its heavy themes in which viewers are asked to ponder topics like adoption and abortion, Broker includes moments of levity. This critically acclaimed film will not only move viewers to tears, it will also cause them to chuckle.
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