By Rob Blackwelder
The lost little kitten of the title plays a symbolic role in the coming of age of five Korean girls as they each emerge into adulthood in this perceptive, creative, bittersweet import in which diverging lives remain tenuously tethered together by cell phones and instant messaging.
A gift from the most timid and insecure member of the modest clique, the kitty is rejected by its selfish, career-ambitious recipient on her birthday (too much trouble to take care of), and is soon passed around to the remaining girls -- a pair of light-hearted twins who sell homemade jewelry on the streets of their gray and gritty port town, and Tae-he (Doo-na Bae), the good-hearted soul of the group who tries to keep them all connected even as they grow apart.
Showing emotional insight and understated inventiveness (for example, superimposing the girls' cell phone text messages onto nearby surfaces so we can read along), "Take Care of My Cat" understands the hurdles faced by each of its young women striking out on their own (parents, loneliness, desire, poverty, aspiration, self-doubt), and wraps up its themes beautifully in a tentative but hopeful ambiguity that feels more like the beginning of varied futures than an end of a collective childhood.
*** out of ****
(112m | NR)
(In subtitled Korean)