The Way Home is arguably one of the best foreign movies I've seen so far. Dedicated to all grandmothers the movie is simple but very, very touching and this summary I've copied from the official site tells it all: "THE WAY HOME tells the touching story of two people as they overcome their differences in an effort to find a bond of understanding. The silent and patient grandmother, a creature of nature and solitude, finally reaches her grandson from the material world, by quietly and constantly offering him unconditional love."

I first saw it in the entertainment guide magazine of Singapore Airlines and it got my curiosity given the accolades and prizes given at two film festivals. I was touched by the way the grandmother would constantly bear with her grandson's bratty ways and name-calling. She's partially deaf-mute, illiterate and almost bent to the ground, her grandson, Sang-woo, could care less as long as she never gets in his way. At first he would call her names like dumb, stupid, or retard (he even forced it to the extreme by writing the same words on the walls of her home). At first he pissed in her shoes and afterwards he hid her lone pair of shoes forcing her to fetch buckets of water everyday from somewhere with bare feet. He rejected her every attempt to reach out and would constantly apologize if she offended him in some way. She never once berated him or punished him for treating her less than human and after a series of mishaps he finally got around to realizing that all he gave her was grief after all her sacrifices. When the time came for him to be fetched by his mother to go back to the city, he tried to teach her two phrases that she could use to reach him in the city: "grandma sick" and "I miss you." When she tried but couldn't copy the words he wrote, he finally gave her instructions that if she's ever sick then a blank letter in the mail would make him understand the situation. In the end the once estranged grandson learned that the quality of life doesn't revolve around the things that money can buy but from the appreciation of the simple things that people people do for each other.

Another fanscinating thing about the film is the background of the actress who played the old grandmother and how she was discovered: "After the location was set, the crew searched throughout Youngdong in the hopes of finding their star grandmother. Like finding the location, the search was long and frustrating. One day Lee happened to see an old woman walking towards her in the distance. The moment she saw Eul-Boon Kim, she cried out, "That's her!"

But Kim needed to be persuaded to agree to play the part of Grandma. Not only had she never acted, but she had never seen a motion picture. It was a strange new process, but Lee was finally able to convince Kim to take the role.

Granny Kim surprised the crew everyday with her astute eye, amazing memory and unique acting ability. She knew instinctively what to do and she would remember every gesture and prop that was used in each scene. It was as if the script supervisor had an assistant, someone to help her keep track of every detail."
An interview with director Lee Jeong-hyang can be found here. It's interesting to note that she also said that she was inspired to make the movie by her own relationship with her grandmother. My hat's off to the director in thanks for this wonderful film.