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Working in TV series marketing, Ji-sun’s daily life is like a war: not only struggling hard at work, she’s involved in a custody battle for her 18-month-old daughter Da-eun. The baby Da-eun spends most of the time with the nanny Han-mae. Luckily, Da-eun seems to get along well with her nanny. One day, when Ji-sun gets back home after work, she finds both Han-mae and Da-eun disappeared. Due to the custody battle, Ji-sun doesn’t dare to call the police. She starts by asking the neighbor who first introduced Han-mae. But the neighbor already quit the job and Han-mae’s certification turns out to be someone else’s…
Ji-sun(UM Ji-won) is a busy career woman at a PR company who tries to win a difficult custody battle over her 13-month-old daughter, Da-eun. She hires a Chinese nanny, Han-mae(KONG Hyo-jin), to watch over her daughter and everything seems in order until she finds her daughter is missing. Without being able to report to the police due to her fear of losing her custody battle, she decides to look for her missing daughter on her own. Her desperate search for Da-eun naturally leads her to following the traces of Han-mae’s life. She drops by a massage parlor where Han-mae used to work before she landed a nanny job and then, a small village in the countryside where Han-mae used to live. Ji-sun finds out that Han-mae got married to a Korean man but eventually ran away from her abusive husband with her sick daughter. Han-mae sold her organs in exchange for money for her daughter’s liver transplant; however, it was too late to save her little child. Desperate with her baby gone, Han-mae tries to flee to China with Ji-sun’s daughter she has kidnapped.
By incorporating workaholic Ji-sun’s hectic daily routine into the dramatic and dynamic thriller genre, the film creates a unique rhythm as a working mother’s thriller. As if to follow the speedy action in thriller, Ji-sun’s life as a working mother always seems chaotic with a sense of being chased. The film begins with a scene showing the reality of being a young working mother and prompts women audiences to identify with her. The dichotomy between a working mother and a nanny is the key to understanding the differences between Ji-sun and Han-mae while these women have in common that they are mothers to their daughters. In this film, marketer Ji-sun is a woman who keeps failing as a mother while nanny Han-mae is a mother obsessed with her daughter. This schizophrenic social sentiment projected as motherhood is the main cause of the tragedy. Although Han-mae repeats “Mama will protect you” as she sings a lullaby, her word only signifies a constraint placed upon every mother in the world as well as a promise that is difficult to keep. [Sunah KIM]
Director E.oni made her debut with …ing, a film that portrayed the love story between a terminally ill high school girl and a college student, and has gained critical praise for her delicate psychological depiction and lyrical cinematography. Her next film, Love Exposure, which carefully and honestly examined the ordinary life of two women in their 30’s, once again captivated the critics for its exquisite production. She now takes her delicate sensitivity, her forte, and adds drama to create Missing, where she pushes the emotions of the two protagonists to the extreme, and in doing so arouses the sympathy of the audience by paradoxically portraying to them that the pains of these women who are completely different from us are essentially the same pains that we go through.