Hotel by the River (2018)



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Movie Info

The film tells the story of an aging poet, Younghwan (Ki Joobong), who summons his two estranged sons (Kwon Haehyo and Yu Junsang) to a solitary hotel beside the Han River because he feels his death is near. While waiting for them to arrive, he meets two women (Kim Minhee and Song Seonmi) out walking in the new-fallen snow and is struck by their angelic beauty. But the women have come to the hotel to do some healing of their own. As Younghwan moves between the women and his bickering sons, he also moves between his two minds: one that walks on the street and the other that communes with the eternal. Shooting in gauzy black-and-white with a strikingly untethered hand-held camera, Korean master Hong Sangsoo interweaves the various dramas of his characters in a quiet, straightforward way. But small coincidences and privileged moments combine to create a powerful meditation on family and death, one of the most affecting films in Hong's oeuvre.


Critic Reviews for Hotel by the River

All Critics (15) | Top Critics (4)

Hong builds the action into a framework of poetic premonitions that exude anticipatory danger.

Oct 8, 2018 | Full Review…

Hong continues to find playful new ways of organizing his obsessions. He's got a natural genius for rearranging the furniture, and it makes a virtue of the fact that he's always working inside the same house.

Oct 4, 2018 | Rating: B | Full Review…

As a forlorn kind of hangout movie, then, "Hotel by the Sea" proceeds at a pleasing shuffle, spiked with bittersweet humor and even a gentle, surprising hint of sentimentality.

Aug 9, 2018 | Full Review…
Top Critic

A portrait of two souls coming to a reckoning - one with encroaching death, the other, in a less developed story, with life after a relationship.

Aug 9, 2018 | Full Review…

Hotel by the River is imbued with the self-irony that permeates much of Hong's ever-growing filmography, only this time the mockery is mixed with a tragic aftertaste that adds to the drama an unsettling and refreshing aura.

Nov 30, 2018 | Rating: A- | Full Review…

It can be tempting, even from the outset, to read this hotel, this winter, these people, as a sort of purgatory. But wherever they are, these five have managed to remind themselves of love.

Nov 12, 2018 | Full Review…

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