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Kore-eda's Broker is a sentimental rollercoaster of emotions

Lily reviews the latest film from dir. Kore-eda Hirokazu, where themes of adoption and broken families are explored, whilst genres are bent and mixed to create a multi-faceted emotional rollercoaster.

By Lily Wheeler, French, Spanish and Italian, Second Year

Make sure to pack your tissues, Broker (2022) is a sentimental film that will tug on your heartstrings! In true Kore-eda style, themes of adoption and broken families are at the forefront of a narrative where social outcasts unite to form an unconventional ménage.

Broker (2022) // Courtesy of IMDB

The audience is invited to hop on board with the protagonists on their voyage to find adoptive parents for little Woo-sung, who was left in a baby box outside a church. In line with the road movie genre, we witness our sensitive, yet resilient, protagonists evolve, discover new things about themselves and form meaningful bonds with each other as they undertake a literal and figurative journey.

With a star-studded cast and stand-out performances from Kang-ho (winning the Best Actor Award 2022 at Cannes), Lee and Dong-won and a complex yet sensitively dealt with storyline, it is no surprise that the film was nominated for the Palme d’Or.

Kore-eda’s in-depth characterisation, achieved through the intricate layering of stories and experiences, and tactfully complemented by Jung-Jae II’s emotive soundtrack and Kung-pyo’s nuanced cinematography, provides an insight into the complexities of parenthood and abandonment. It allows the viewer to form connections with the characters and hence dissect the themes in greater depth.

Broker (2022) // Courtesy of IMDB

Don’t be put off by the seemingly dense nature of the themes dealt with, the humoristic interjections throughout serve as comic relief for the heavy subject matter, turning sinister situations into light-hearted ones at a moment’s notice.

The plethora of genres explored within the film facilitates Kore-eda’s confrontation of moral dilemmas, from examining humanist concerns to grappling with ethical paradoxes – the film certainly provokes some philosophical contemplation! Whilst the crime genre holds greater weight than is typical of Kore-eda’s films with great emphasis placed on the investigation of the crime committed, it certainly doesn’t compromise on sentimentality.

Broker (2022) // Courtesy of IMDB

The rollercoaster of emotions that I felt throughout as my laughter turned to tears and tense scenes became comforting, could be explained by the plurality of genre. With genres ranging from thriller to romance, the unexpected twists and turns of the film are exacerbated, and the chance of a predictable ending is thrown out of the window, leaving you on the edge of your seat for the duration of the film.

All in all, Broker is a thought-provoking yet emotionally nuanced film, speaking to those who seek the kind of intimacy that contemporary cinema often lacks.

Featured Image: Courtesy of IMDB

Will you be watching Kore-eda's newest film?