There was a lot of hype surrounding the movie I Want to Know Your Parents. Its not about the amount of star power in the cast, but rather because its another disturbing story that stems from extreme school violence that leads to the death of a high school student. Prepare to be shocked if you decide to watch it.
Synopsis: When the unconscious body of a high school student Kim Geon Woo is rescued from a lake by a fisherman, the influential parents of four other students were called by the school after it was discovered that their sons were named as bullies by the victim in what was purported to be his suicide note.
Watching I Want to Know Your Parents was very triggering even though it was a work of fiction, because it speaks a universal language. It can happen to everyone. Cruelty exists, not in any abstract form, but in real life scenarios as well. You can read about in the papers, or watch it on the news. This is the world we live in now.
It is a parent’s job to protect their children from harm, but it is also part of their role to raise them to become decent human beings. This aspect of parenting is sordidly absent from the parents in this movie. In a bid to protect their sons from prosecution, the parents — consisting of a lawyer, a hospital owner, a former general, and a member of the faculty — wasted no time in colluding to keep their children’s names out of the criminal justice system. From blackmailing, to bribery, and feigning concern for the victim’s mother, they worked together to scrub all evidence that would link their children to the incident.
Apart from lawyer Kang Ho Chang, nobody even tried to get to the bottom of the matter with the intent of serving justice, and his investigations were done mostly to clear his son, not because he wanted to Geon Woo’s killers to be held accountable.
For lawyer Kang, he was just too relieved to hear his son deny the claims that he was willing to turn a blind eye to his participation in the misdeeds. Even though he was familiar with the law, he was willing to let it go on that basis alone. He knew that his son was accountable as an accomplice and yet, because he wanted to protect his son, he wanted him to be declared as an innocent and a victim as well. As a result, he was blindsided by the betrayal he and his son suffered from whom he counted as allies.
As for the rest of the guardians, it was disappointing to see that none of them even held their children accountable for their actions, even the retired general, who at first was firm in seeing due process take place. It really made no sense.
It was deplorable what the parents did to bury the truth but what was even more deplorable was the utter sense of impunity that the bullies displayed. They showed no tinge of remorse at the suffering their put Geon Woo and Han Gyeol through. They were cruel, malicious, violent, and clearly, they modeled their behavior from their parents.
When Ms. Song declared that the parents were worse than the children, she was not wrong. But even she was accountable for a lot of things. She failed to see the red flags in the children’s behavior. She handed over a crucial piece of evidence that was left in her care. She acted too late in all aspects but felt self righteous when preaching about justice.
At the end of the day, I Want to Meet Your Parents was a thought provoking story about the importance of a parent’s upbringing of their children. Its not just about the extent of parent’s love for their children.
It makes you think about a parents’ involvement in their children’s lives, and if they would have been able to spot the cues that hinted at something amiss. If the children were corrected by their parents at an early age instead of coddled and protected from consequence, perhaps, they would have been more afraid of doing something wrong and hurtful to others.
I Want to Meet Your Parents was an intense film from start to finish, as more and more layers of the story was uncovered and explored after each significant development. Because of the ambiguous ending, the question as to whether there were any lessons learned hung in the balance. I think the true beauty of the film was its ability to linger in the audience’s mind long after the credits have rolled. Its a relatable tale that makes parents, teachers, and even students think about their common responsibility in putting an end to bullying. It sparks a conversation on what more can be done, because once a life is lost, its lost forever, and the damage caused by bullying — the marks last a lifetime for both the bullies and victims alike.