A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Friends take care of each other, sometimes making sacrifices for the other's benefit. High school is a time of firsts and discovery.
Positive Role Models
Na Bo-Ra is fiercely protective of her friend Yeon-Du, who suffers a heart condition. Teen boys and girls treat each other with respect. Teenagers are capable of great love.
The film is set in South Korea in 1999 and shot in Korean.
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Violence & Scariness
Characters fall down, almost get in a fight, and practice taekwondo. A girl suffers from a heart condition, faints regularly, pricks her finger, and has to travel abroad for heart surgery. A teacher hits students with a back-scratcher and publicly shames them for contents found in their backpacks. Teens swerve through traffic on a motorcycle. A child is rushed by ambulance to a hospital, but is fine. A main character dies.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Teens flirt, have crushes, hug, hold hands, and two characters share a kiss. There's mention of watching porn.
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In the English subtitles: "damnit," "hell," "bastard," "crap," "geez," "darn/dang it," "sucks," "heck," "fart," "gosh," "stupid," "idiot," punk."
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Products & Purchases
Some Korean bands and brands are seen or mentioned.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Teenagers staying the night in a hotel on a school field trip sneak alcohol into their room and get drunk.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that the South Korean teen romance 20th Century Girl is a mostly innocent tale of first love and loss. Boys and girls treat each other with great respect. The main female character is independent and speaks her mind. The film has some flirtations, crushes, hand-holding, and one kiss. There's mention of watching porn. Teenagers get drunk on an overnight school field trip, and one character has to travel abroad for heart surgery. A teacher hits students with a back-scratcher and publicly shames them for contents found in their backpacks. A main character dies (we don't see this on screen). Language in the English subtitles includes "damnit," "hell," "bastard," "crap," and more. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This Korean teen romance is a sweet story with characters that are very hard not to like. Kim Yoo-jung lights up the screen in 20th Century Girl as an independent and strong-minded teenager with a generous heart. She and co-stars Byeon Woo-seok and Park Jung-woo are totally believable as high schoolers discovering life, love, and loss. They're also funny and prone to exaggeration, infusing the film with moments of both comedy and melodrama.
Set in 1999 -- captured in first email accounts, pagers, baggy clothes, girl bands, and Y2K worries -- the period carries a whiff of innocence. The South Korean location, filmed in shades of green and yellow, couches the characters in a safe and gentle setting, allowing them to focus solely on matters of the heart. Spoiler alert: the unexpected ending is a tearjerker.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.