My Name Is Loh Kiwan (2024)

My Name Is Loh Kiwan (2024)

Love enables survival in this moving drama about the refugee experience

7.0

Movie

South Korea
English, French, Korean
Drama, Romance
2024
FEMALE DIRECTOR, KIM HEE-JIN
Choi Sung-eun, Heo Seon-haeng, Jo Han-chul
133 min

TLDR

Song Joong-ki is great here, but Choi Sung-eun is just so ethereal here, it’s crazy.

What it's about

After defecting from North Korea, Loh Kiwan struggles to get refugee status in Belgium, where he encounters former shooting athlete Marie, who lost her will to live.

The take

For better or for worse, we have no choice in the country we’re born in, the citizenship we first attain, and sometimes we’re forced to leave that country for our own safety. My Name is Loh Kiwan depicts a North Korean defector seeking refugee status in Belgium, but while the government deliberates, it’s a hard life he has to face, one that changes when he meets a fellow Korean who may not be an immigrant, but who’s just as lost as he is. While there are some subplots that falter halfway, My Name is Loh Kiwan still manages to stick the landing of being both a moving romance and an empathetic survival drama that highlights the struggles of refugees.

What stands out

My Name is Loh Kiwan is based on the novel I Met Loh Kiwan, and obviously, the biggest change is the change in perspective, with the focus shifting to Loh Kiwan’s point of view. However, they do change a lot with the story– he’s aged up significantly, they added a new character in Marie, and written out other characters. The change isn’t totally bad, but it does shift its focus to prioritize the romance, rather than the already compelling refugee experience.

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