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2.5 out of 4 stars

Written by
Pearl Ball-Harding and Albert Shin
Directed by
Albert Shin
Starring
Yoon Da-kyung, Kil Hae-yeon and Ahn Ji-hye
Classification
18A
Country
Cnnada/South Korea
Language
Korean

A well-off Korean couple arrives at a rundown country farm, and after the husband returns to Seoul, the wife moves in with the widow and her pregnant teen daughter. Gradually, we learn the plan: In a few months, the wife will head back home with a new baby she'll claim as her own, leaving the rural family richer and free of the embarrassing out-of-wedlock pregnancy.

Canadian director Albert Shin's slow-burn domestic drama arrives in theatres after winning the Toronto Film Critics Association's Scotiabank Jay Scott Prize for emerging talent, and a half-dozen nominations at the upcoming Canadian Screen Awards.

The film's strength is the performances from its female cast, with Yoon Da-kyung as the anxious adoptive mother, Kil Hae-yeon as a careworn widow with Ahn Ji-hye as her meek but troubled pregnant teen. Distraught with her pregnancy and an enforced separation from her immature boyfriend, the girl is exhibiting self-destructive behaviour, including eating dog food and wall plaster.

Story continues below advertisement

In Her Place doesn't entirely work: It lacks a distinctive visual rhythm and the screenplay meanders, but it's thematically ambitious, and blunt in its portrayal of the bloody-minded demands of domestic bliss.

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