Open main menu

A Girl at My Door (Korean도희야; RRDohui-ya) is a 2014 South Korean drama film directed by July Jung and stars Bae Doona as a policewoman who takes in an abused girl played by Kim Sae-ron.[4][5][6][7][8] The film screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival.[9][10][11][12]

A Girl at My Door
A Girl at My Door poster.jpg
Film poster
Directed byJuly Jung
Produced by
Written byJuly Jung
Music by
  • Jang Young-gyu
  • Han Hee-jung
CinematographyKim Hyun-seok
Edited byLee Young-lim
Distributed by
Release date
  • 19 May 2014 (2014-05-19) (Cannes)
  • 22 May 2014 (2014-05-22) (South Korea)
Running time
119 minutes[1]
CountrySouth Korea
Box officeUS$569,809[3]

Due to the film's portrayal of a lesbian relationship, and the contentiousness of LGBT rights in South Korea, as well as the initial ambiguous relationship of the two main characters, the film had to be financed largely by the Korean Film Council. Because of this, the budget was limited to US$300,000; Bae and Kim agreed to not be paid.[2]



Following a personal scandal, police academy instructor Lee Young-nam is transferred from Seoul to take office as a chief of the police substation in a quiet seaside town in Yeosu. Young-nam keeps a low profile and tolerates the drunken excesses of the locals, but drinks heavily at home, decanting soju into water bottles.

Young-nam meets Sun Do-hee, a timid and withdrawn 14-year-old girl covered with cuts and bruises. Do-hee is bullied by classmates and beaten by both her drunk stepfather Yong-ha and drunk grandmother; her biological mother abandoned them. The locals keep quiet about Yong-ha's injustices as he is the town's main employer, an oyster farmer.

After the body of Yong-ha's mother is found floating in the water, ruled an accidental death caused by drunk driving, Yong-ha attacks Do-hee again. Concerned for Do-hee's safety, Young-nam offers to let her stay with her during the summer vacation, despite scrutiny from the villagers. For the first time, Do-hee has someone who does not hit her and who calls her by her name instead of swearing at her. Do-hee bathes with Young-nam and imitates her, wearing her uniform and cutting her hair in the same style.

Young-nam is tracked to Yeosu by her ex-girlfriend, who asks her to move to Australia with her. They argue and kiss, and are seen by Yong-ha. When Young-nam discovers that he employs underpaid illegal immigrants, Yong-ha tells the police that Young-nam sexually abused Do-hee. Young-nam is taken into custody. She states she had no improper contact with Do-hee and that taking in an abused child was her duty; the investigator responds that this was inappropriate behavior for a gay woman. Do-hee tells the investigator that Young-nam sexually abused her, and Young-nam is imprisoned. Do-hee is returned to the care of her father and given a number to call if her father beats her again.

At her family home, Do-hee undresses, dials the number and hides the phone, then caresses her sleeping father. He wakes and begins shouting at her. She cries in protest, telling him "it hurts". The police break in and arrest the father. Do-hee tells the investigators that her father told her to lie that Young-nam abused her. Young-nam is released and receives an apology. She visits Do-hee and asks her if she made what happened to her father and grandmother happen on purpose, then leaves. As she is being driven out of town, she tells the officer to stop the car. She finds Do-hee and asks her to come with her.


  • Bae Doona as Lee Young-nam, a chief of police substation
  • Kim Sae-ron as Sun Do-hee, Yong-ha's adopted daughter
  • Song Sae-byeok as Park Yong-ha
  • Kim Jin-gu as Park Jum-soon, Yong-ha's mother
  • Son Jong-hak as Captain Eom
  • Na Jong-min as Officer Kim
  • Gong Myung as Police Officer Kwon Son-oh
  • Jang Hee-jin as Eun-jung, Young-nam's ex-lover
  • Kim Min-jae as Jun-ho, Young-nam's senior colleague
  • Park Jin-woo as Chief detective
  • Moon Sung-keun as Nam Gyeong-dae, police superintendent in Seoul
  • Kim Jong-gu as Boss Choi
  • Arvind Alok as Bakeem, foreign worker
  • Robin Shiek as Salam, foreign worker
  • Pokhrel Barun as Hoang, foreign worker
  • Lee Hyeon-jeong as Young-nam's landlady


At the film's official Cannes screening at the Theatre Debussy, the audience gave it a three-minute standing ovation and it received mostly positive reviews from the media.[13][14][15] Screen Daily called it "a resolutely left-field and refreshingly off-kilter drama [...] a deftly intriguing tale of alcoholism and abuse that starts off as a seemingly familiar domestic drama before spiralling off into something more unnerving and vaguely disturbing. It is driven by a strong cast and makes the most of it rural location that should be an idyllic but in fact its surface beauty covers up a series of rather dysfunctional people. The film is given heart and soul by a magnetic performance by the excellent Doona Bae."[16]

Variety wrote that the "wrenching drama" is a "layered expose of violence and bigotry in provincial Korean society" powered by "mesmerizing" performances by Bae Doona and Kim Sae-ron. It described Bae's portrayal as "both towering and frail," while "Kim is electrifying."[17] Twitch Film praised it as "Korean cinema at its finest," "gripping from start to finish [...] with its fair share of high drama, but unlike most of its Korean compatriots, it never overplays its hand and treats its audience with respect," and "so well-wrought that one can't help but be swept up in its artistry, which effortlessly plunges us into an intellectual reverie."[18] The Korea Herald said it "deftly blends mystery and thriller," "does an impressive job of tackling modern Korean social issues, including alcoholism, homosexuality, small-town politics, migration and labor," and praised "the three lead actors, especially Bae," who "offer memorable performances as troubled, lonely and searching souls."[19]

The Hollywood Reporter was less impressed: "While Jung's efforts to avoid sensationalism and employ multiple threads are very admirable, the result is a mild-mannered piece short of a sufficiently substantial exposition of its plethora of characters and the problem they face. All this leads to Bae giving an internalized performance dangerously close to blankness; fortunately, Kim is on hand with a turn that suitably brings to the screen the psychotic state of her battered character."[20] Film Business Asia also singled out Kim as "the standout performance in a generally impressive first feature by 34-year-old writer-director July Jung, that could have been even better with one more script revision and more animated playing by Bae. Despite that, it's still an involving drama with few dull moments, continually shifting the power balance between the three main protagonists. [...] All of this is a rich concoction that Jung generally brings off. But there are also annoying loose ends that weaken its dramatic impact, [such as] the backgrounds of the three leads are thinly drawn; and the final act has a slightly too manufactured feel. The film could easily lose 10 minutes to its benefit, by shortening or eliminating the repetitive scenes of the girl's beatings."[21]

Awards and nominationsEdit

Year Award Category Recipient Result
30th Golden Rooster and
Hundred Flowers Awards[22][23]
Best Actress in a Foreign Film Bae Doona Won
23rd Buil Film Awards[24]
Best Actress Bae Doona Nominated
Best Supporting Actor Song Sae-byeok Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Kim Sae-ron Nominated
Best New Director July Jung Won
25th Stockholm International Film Festival[25]
Best First Film A Girl at My Door Won
51st Grand Bell Awards
Best New Director July Jung Nominated
Best New Actress Kim Sae-ron Nominated
15th Women in Film Korea Awards
Best Director/Screenwriter July Jung Won
35th Blue Dragon Film Awards
Best New Actress Kim Sae-ron Won
20th Chunsa Film Art Awards
Best Actress Bae Doona Won
Best New Director July Jung Nominated
9th Asian Film Awards[26][27]
Best Actress Bae Doona Won
2nd Wildflower Film Awards[28][29]
Best Director (Narrative Film) July Jung Nominated
Best Actor Song Sae-byeok Nominated
Best Actress Bae Doona Nominated
Kim Sae-ron Nominated
Best Screenplay July Jung Won
Best Cinematography Kim Hyun-seok Nominated
Best New Director July Jung Nominated
51st Baeksang Arts Awards[30][31]
Best Film A Girl at My Door Nominated
Best Actress Bae Doona Nominated
Kim Sae-ron Nominated
Best Supporting Actor Song Sae-byeok Nominated
Best New Director July Jung Won


  1. ^ "A Girl at My Door (18)". British Board of Film Classification. 24 July 2015. Retrieved 29 July 2015.
  2. ^ a b Simon, Nathalie (4 November 2014). "A Girl at My Door ou les femmes de Corée vues par July Jung". Le Figaro (in French). Retrieved 5 November 2014.
  3. ^ "Dohee-ya (A Girl at My Door)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 23 August 2014.
  4. ^ Ma, Kevin (21 May 2014). "A Girl at My Door's July Jung". Film Business Asia. Retrieved 22 May 2014.
  5. ^ Ma, Kevin (24 May 2014). "Korean actors on A Girl at My Door". Film Business Asia. Archived from the original on 31 May 2014. Retrieved 27 May 2014.
  6. ^ Conran, Pierce (2 September 2013). "BAE Doo-na and KIM Sae-ron Team up with Producer LEE Chang-dong". Korean Film Biz Zone. Retrieved 19 April 2014.
  7. ^ Lee, Hyo-won (20 May 2014). "Cannes: Korean Star Bae Doona on How Hollywood Loneliness Informs Her Acting". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 22 May 2014.
  8. ^ Song, Soon-jin (27 June 2014). "KIM Sae-ron of A Girl at My Door: The girl who stands by herself". Korean Cinema Today. Retrieved 1 July 2014.
  9. ^ "2014 Official Selection". Cannes Film Festival. Retrieved 18 April 2014.
  10. ^ Conran, Pierce (18 April 2014). "A Girl At My Door Invited to Un Certain Regard". Korean Film Biz Zone. Retrieved 19 April 2014.
  11. ^ Lee, Claire (18 April 2014). "Three Korean films to be featured at Cannes". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 19 April 2014.
  12. ^ Sunwoo, Carla (16 May 2014). "July Jung work selected by Cannes". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 20 May 2014.
  13. ^ Lee, Kyung-min (20 May 2014). "Bae Doo-na appears at Cannes fest with Jim Sturgess". The Korea Times. Retrieved 20 May 2014.
  14. ^ Ko, Dong-hwan (20 May 2014). "A Girl At My Door rocks Cannes 2014". The Korea Times. Retrieved 27 May 2014.
  15. ^ Conran, Pierce (23 May 2014). "Cannes Takes to A GIRL AT MY DOOR". Korean Film Biz Zone. Retrieved 27 May 2014.
  16. ^ Adams, Mark (19 May 2014). "A Girl At My Door". Screen Daily. Retrieved 20 May 2014.
  17. ^ Lee, Maggie (20 May 2014). "Cannes Film Review: A Girl at My Door". Variety. Retrieved 27 May 2014.
  18. ^ Conran, Pierce (16 May 2014). "Cannes 2014 Review: A GIRL AT MY DOOR Is Korean Cinema At Its Finest". Twitch Film. Archived from the original on 20 May 2014. Retrieved 20 May 2014.
  19. ^ Lee, Claire (13 May 2014). "Herald Review: A Girl at My Door powerful, resonating study of the alienated". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 20 May 2014.
  20. ^ Tsui, Clarence (19 May 2014). "A Girl At My Door (Dohee-ya): Cannes Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 20 May 2014.
  21. ^ Elley, Derek (20 May 2014). "A Girl at My Door". Film Business Asia. Retrieved 20 May 2014.
  22. ^ Conran, Pierce (29 September 2014). "BAE Doo-na Nabs Golden Rooster in China". Korean Film Biz Zone. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
  23. ^ Lee, Sung-eun (30 September 2014). "Bae Doo-na receives Golden Rooster". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 12 October 2014.
  24. ^ Kim, June (6 October 2014). "SHIM Eun-kyung, SONG Kang-ho, HONG Sangsoo and ROARING CURRENTS Win at 23rd Buil Film Awards". Korean Film Biz Zone. Retrieved 9 October 2014.
  25. ^ Ahn, Sung-mi (17 November 2014). "July Jung's A Girl at My Door wins award in Stockholm". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 22 November 2014.
  26. ^ "S. Korea's Bae Doona wins best actress at Asian Film Awards". Yonhap. 27 March 2015. Retrieved 27 March 2015.
  27. ^ Ahn, Woorim (27 March 2015). "Bae Doona Wins The Best Actress Award at the 9th Asian Film Awards". BNTNews. Retrieved 27 March 2015.
  28. ^ Ma, Kevin (1 April 2015). "Girl at My Door leads Wildflower nominations". Film Business Asia. Archived from the original on 15 April 2015. Retrieved 1 April 2015.
  29. ^ Bechervaise, Jason (1 April 2015). "A Girl at My Door gets 7 Wildflower Awards nominations". The Korea Times. Retrieved 2 April 2015.
  30. ^ Lee, Seung-mi (26 May 2015). [51회 백상] '도희야' 정주리 감동의 수상 소감, 배두나 눈시울 붉혀. IS Plus (in Korean). Retrieved 28 May 2015.
  31. ^ Conran, Pierce (27 May 2015). "CHOI Min-sik and REVIVRE Triumph at 51st Paeksang Arts Awards". Korean Film Biz Zone. Retrieved 27 May 2015.

External linksEdit