Movie: Ajoomma (Review)

Hey guys!

There's a new Singapore film out in theatres! The trailer looked fun and I wanted to #supportlocal so we went on the 'official' first day! (27 October)

There were sneak peeks on 21-24 too. 

Movie name: Ajoomma 花路阿朱妈 아줌마
Director: He Shuming
Duration: 90 minutes

What's it about: Singapore Auntie goes on a wild ride in Korea when she is accidentally left behind by her tour group. With language barriers and no phone, can she find her way back?

Themes: Family, Love, Loss, Hope

SG Rating: NC16? Why?
NC16 (No Children under 16) was introduced to protect children from viewing films thematically unsuitable for them

Violence? On a scale of 1-10 Marvel is like at a 7 and this is maybe like a 2.5. 

I suppose the NC16 is tagged on because of the LGBT suggestion, which was portrayed SO GENTLY in the film. Help la.

Just want to say I appreciated the Pink Dot lanyard that appeared on screen for like 2 seconds. Haha.


More about the movie premise...

Veteran actress Hong Huifang plays her role as an auntie that loves k-drama with gusto. She enthusiastically prepares for a trip to Korea with her son, Sam. However, Sam (played by Shane Pow) pangsehs her last minute and the trip seems to be cancelled, throwing Auntie into a spiral of deep disappointment. 

The light goes out of her eyes and she resigns herself to the fact that she would not be going to Korea.  

But a phone call from the tour agency the night before the flight changes everything. 

As the Singaporean mentality goes, Auntie did not want to squander the trip to Korea as there would be no refund.Therefore, she bites the bullet and embarks on a 'solo' trip to Korea!

Upon touchdown in Korea, Auntie meets our charismatic and exhausted tour guide, Kwon Woo. 

Cue the start of the adventure!

She meets kindred spirits and goes on a journey of a lifetime. I'll stop talking here because there are bound to be spoilers if I go on.

The Review
(My thoughts and humble opinions)

On Singapore

As a Singaporean, some scenes extremely relatable. The language used, the mannerisms and dialogue of the aunties make you go: Oh! This is just like someone I know! So real and relatable! I feel 'seen'! This is representation on the cinematic screen. (*Not TV. I'm not counting Singapore TV dramas, sorry.)

This film felt very Singaporean, even though most of the adventure transpires in Korea. It shows an average Singaporean auntie navigating life overseas - our 'bilingualism' and captures subtle things like the way we say 'thankKEW'. 

As for its place in (recent) Singapore film, the 'heartland' Singapore here is very different from the glitzy Singapore portrayed in say Crazy Rich Asians. It is also more of a light-hearted take on Singapore as compared to some of the heavier films ('15' by Royston Tan, 'Apprentice' by Boo Junfeng), or depressing ones like 'Ilo Ilo'. I thought it was a nice refined addition to the comedy genre in Singapore, which is usually loud and garish.

On all counts, it's an encouraging venture and I hope Singapore film continues to find its voice, develop and continuing growing!

Plot wise,

I felt like the film kinds of oscillates between loss and hope a lot. There is no overbearing sadness or extreme happiness or release. Feels very Asian and realistic to me actually. Like how an Asian mother shows you love by cooking something you enjoy. Or instead of telling you that they love you as you hurry to your flight, they tell you to call when you have arrived at the place instead. 

Parents are happy that you grew up, but at the same time are also sad that you grew up. 

There were plenty of light hearted moments and language related humor, one exciting action scene and one 'beautiful' scene. 

Mostly it felt like a slice of life movie that manages to move at a steady pace so it does not bore the viewer. Maybe the pace was largely due to the work of Anthony Chen (Wet Season and Ilo Ilo)? 

Extra notes:

  • There are some things I would have liked to know more about, like what happened to the tour guide. It felt abrupt and I wished we learned more about him! His story feels a bit underdeveloped. 

  • I appreciated that there was no forced romance or magic silver bullet though. Because that's life! 

  • I would also like to learn more about the production process, especially about the budget, which seems quite large!!! 😂


Ajoomma gets a 4/5 stars from me.

It doesn't knock your socks off and serve you some huge revelation, but this sweet movie definitely warms the heart and reminds you to love your family and be kind to all.

Watch the trailer:

Ajoomma has also been nominated for a bunch of film awards, as well as the Golden Horse 'LEADING FEMALE ACTRESS' for Hong Huifang. Props to her! 

The cast from the Korean side is also star studded. Fans of Hometown Cha cha cha and Hotel Del Luna will be delighted to see familiar faces.  (Don't worry- even if you're not a k-drama addict, you can still enjoy the show! I recognised nobody lmao but it didn't affect anything at all.)

Ajoomma is out in theatres now! Tell me how you felt about the movie in the comments! 



P.S. If you've arrived on this page because you just watched the movie, here are some extra clips and interviews to enjoy.