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A quiet drama about an apathetic pair of siblings who still live in their childhood neighborhood in L.A.’s Koreatown. Ms. Purple is an inside peek at the Asian American experience regarding hyphenated identity, familial obligations, sibling bonds, and death.
Set in the darkest corners of Los Angeles’ Koreatown, director Justin Chon’s third feature film is a moving, melancholic drama following Kasie, a 23-year old first-generation Korean American woman, as she fights to care for her dying father.
Kasie’s world, we quickly learn, is one in which she is meant to be seen and not heard. The film opens on Kasie as a young girl, standing stoic as her father brushes back her hair, straightens out her colorful pink and gold hanbok, and tells her how beautiful she is in her traditional New Years’ garb. “How can your mother not come and see this beautiful princess?” He asks her. “We have to look good for your mother.”
The next scene is grown-up Kasie, clearly drunk, stumbling home listlessly as the sun rises behind her. She wears a purple hanbok this time, it’s tattered purple ribbons fluttering in the wind. It’s a poignant if unsubtle visual foreshadowing of the story ahead, of a younger generation burdened by obligation and trying to grow up in a changing world.