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Review: In Her Place

February 13, 2015

By John Corrado

★★★ (out of 4)

In Her Place PosterThe characters in Canadian director Albert Shin’s South Korean drama In Her Place are nameless, and the majority of the story takes place at a rural farmhouse, but the complex situations at the centre of the story are simply compelling to watch unfold.

Although the release is flying pretty much under the radar at the Carlton this weekend, In Her Place is a small standout from last year’s TIFF, that deserves more attention.  Tickets and showtimes can be found right here.

The film opens with a husband (Kim Kyung-Ik) and wife (Yoon Da-Kyung) arriving at the countryside property of a woman (Kil Hae-Yeon) and her teenaged daughter (Ahn Ji-Hye).  We slowly discover that the girl is pregnant, and the couple plans to secretly adopt the unborn child, shamefully hiding the fact that they can’t have a child of their own.

But this already unique situation, involving three women bound by strict tradition, grows increasingly more layered and complex throughout the very well acted In Her Place.  Albert Shin does an excellent job of slowly turning up the heat and bringing things to a boil, handling everything with the assured hand of a true professional.  The fact that In Her Place is only his second film just makes it all the more impressive, the sort of sophomore effort that leaves us genuinely excited to see what he does next.

This is a transfixing drama that unfolds with a quietly simmering sense of intensity, building towards a shocking and disturbing conclusion, with many scenes that resonate long after seeing the film.  With strikingly understated performances, In Her Place is a must see for arthouse audiences.

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