Seoul Searching (2015)

Seoul Searching (2015)
  • 1394
  • TV-MA
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release year: 2015 ()
  • Running time: 105 min
  • Original Title: Seoul Searching
  • Voted: 1394

During the 1980s, the Korean government created a special summer camp for "gyopo" or foreign born teenagers where they could spend their summer in Seoul to learn about their motherland. While the intentions of the program were honorable, the activities of the teens were not. The program was eventually cancelled after a few years because the government simply could not control the youth. Seoul Searching is a teen comedy and coming of age film, based on a true story about one of the summer camps that took place in 1986.

1Justin ChonSid Park
2Jessika VanGrace Park
3In-Pyo ChaMr. Kim
4Teo YooKlaus Kim
  • Nostalgic and fun! It's a great film. by 10

    SEOUL SEARCHING is not a great film about Asians. It's a great film, period. Yes, it features all-Asian cast but the story is universal, the themes are universal. And for those of us who grew up fans of John Hughes '80s high school coming-of-age dramas, what writer/director Benson Lee had crafted here hits home.

    Based on Benson Lee's own experience as a teenager, SEOUL SEARCHING is about a group of Korean teenagers/high schoolers sent from all over the world to participate in a government-sponsored summer program to help them connect with their heritage. Of course, since they're at the age of puberty and rule-breaking phase, all they could think of is how and when to party, but along the way, with any luck, they might make friends, fall in love, and learn something about their heritage after all.

    As Asian myself, I think we need more movies SEOUL SEARCHING, movies that don't put Asians in stereotypical roles of just martial artists or doctors/scientists. But you don't have to be Asian to appreciate and enjoy SEOUL SEARCHING because there's a part in all of us that's always curious to know where we came from and what we're all about even if we choose to not realize it. And just like John Hughes, writer/director Benson Lee treats his characters, who are supposedly teens in this story, with the utmost respect and without insulting their intelligence. Today's generation may not fully understand how hard it was for kids their age back then, no internet, no social media, limited means of looking up stuff on your own and so they had to look up to other personas, mostly the ones on MTV.

    It's funny how when you're younger, you desperately try to tap into certain identities that you think represent you because you're still in that phase of searching, which is why this film hits the mark on so many levels. As you get older, we look back and wonder why on earth did we ever wear those clothes or have such hairstyle. SEOUL SEARCHING does a great job of re-capturing the '80s in terms of its looks, the costumes and the music, you can tell who's inspired by Run DMC, who's inspired by Madonna and so on and so forth. The characters in this film are unique, they're Koreans born in other parts of the world, they come in with different perspectives, different habits, different ways of doing things, so to see them colliding as some kind of melting pot over a span of just one summer, of course hilarity, heartbreak, and certain revelations ensue, at the same time, SEOUL SEARCHING is also a gentle old soul longing to bestow its wisdom on us.

    Great cast; memorable cast, each and every last one of them. Esteban Ahn's Mexican korean character in particular has some of the best lines in the film. Of course my favorite would have to be Jessika Van's rendition of Madonna's "Like a Virgin," which is amusing and you can't help but be admired by the focus she puts into that performance. SEOUL SEARCHING is nostalgic, fun, and heartfelt. I think it's good for people to learn and ultimately come to respect their heritage, I don't think it should be a mandatory government program, but I'm glad such program did happen in the '80s for these folks because otherwise, Benson Lee wouldn't have been able to share his great experience with the world.

    -- Rama's Screen --

  • Hidden Treasure by 10

    This movie was so good that i literally just created an imdb account to rate this move. Wish more people knew about this movie. Came across it on netflix but it man it was damn good

  • Fantastic, Funny Film by 7

    I just saw the World Premiere of this film tonight, and loved it. The entire audience did a 'wave' for the director before the movie, and stood up for his well-deserved standing ovation at the end.

    Seoul Searching depicts teens from around the world exploring their relationship to their Korean cultural identity - at a summer camp in Seoul, Korea. (Cue mass quantities of alcohol.) Like any teen film, it explores relationships with parents, peers, and authorities, but what makes this one so enjoyable is that it is so specific and spot-on in illuminating the Korean cultural experience.

    As a hapa Korean and Italian woman, it's rare that I see a film so dynamic in its representation of complex cultural issues. The movie was hilarious, yet, particularly in one un-subtitled scene, still able to touch the depths of a drama. It explored everything from Korea's held anger towards the Japanese to the DMZ to Korean multiracial adoptees, while challenging and flipping assumptions in funny and clever ways.

    The director – who admitted an homage to John Hughes – hired mostly 'non-actors' who knew their characters from the inside, which worked. For example, the actor who played Sergio from Mexico was actually a Spanish-speaking Korean man culturally representing himself. This was true too, for the German-speaking Korean man from Hamburg. The cast was beaming – you could tell they loved being in the movie.

    The only characters that didn't land for me were the 'rapper' guys, and the only assumptions that didn't move enough for me were those about Korean fathers. But there were so many other things that worked – including the solid 80's soundtrack – that it still made my night.

  • Full of Humor, Heritage, and Heart. by 8

    Think Breakfast Club meets American Pie meets Korean drama. Silly but surprisingly able to pack in a lot with good amount of heart. Smart fun writing that understands Koreans (according to my Korean-American wife), plus a great 80's soundtrack and it's on Netflix...for now!

  • A messy but endearing and charming watch! by 9

    I absolutely loved this movie. The screenplay is a little all over the place and there are some pacing issues, but anchored by a great cast, a great tonal balance of drama and comedy and a great concept and setting, the film sings with youthful energy and makes for a great watch. It plays well to the 80s aesthetic without overdoing it, and the soundtrack is incredible. Highly recommend seeking this out.

1Daniel Katzcinematographer
2Woody Pakcomposer
3Benson Leedirector
4Steve M. Choeeditor
5Andrea Chungproducer