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20th Century Girls and First Love

A South Korean romantic drama film that brings a strong first love story.

20th Century Girl (2022)

5 / 5
4 / 5

20th Century Girl (2022) is a South Korean romantic drama film that takes place in 1999, just before the new century. It has a strong representative cast, as all of the actors are Asian, specifically Korean. In addition, Woo Ri Bang is a female director of Korean descent, bringing strong representation behind the camera. There is also a strong representation of women in this movie because there are many Korean actresses playing major roles.

Bo Ra (Yoo Jung Kim) is the main character in the movie. She is assigned by her best friend Yeon Du (Yoon Seo Roh) to get information about Hyun Jin Baek, a boy Yeon Du likes. While the two best friends are miles apart, Bo Ra discovers things change while her friend is away in the United States. The storyline follows the topic of first love, as most of the plot takes place in 1999 in a high school setting. In 1999, 17-year-old Bo Ra falls in love with Woon Ho Poong but doesn’t realize that she only has a crush on him and that this relationship is not true love. The time period in this film shifts from 1999 to 2019, indicating how Bo Ra has matured over the course of the movie as she grows from a 17-year-old high school student to a mature woman, hence the title of 20th Century Girl. In 2019, Bo Ra befriends Joseph, Woon Ho’s younger brother, and sees that she and Woon Ho will always be a part of each other despite being miles apart.

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Bo Ra

20th Century Girl has dialogue in Korean and English. The time period shift from 1999 to 2019 symbolizes change within yourself and your surroundings. This includes the evolution of digital technology. The cherry blossom tree in the moving illusion also symbolizes change, as Bo Ra has a strong memory of Woon Ho in her heart despite his death. Cherry blossoms symbolize love, even first love.

There are some scenes that younger viewers may find disturbing, such as the scene where one boy shouts and throws a bottle of beer at his classmate in the hallways. But overall, 20th Century Girl is an amazing coming-of-age Netflix movie.