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My Little Baby, Jaya – How Bullying Destroys the Purest Of Souls

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Summary

Won-Sool (Kim Jeong-kyoon) is a man who suffers from a disorder called Cerebral palsy. Won-Sool has a daughter that he cherishes and adore named Jaya (Oh Ye-Sul), who is his pride and joy. Ever since she was little, Won-Sool tries very hard to give her everything she desires despite his limitations. 

Once Jaya finishes high School, she decides to apply to Dohwa Art high school, which has one of the most popular choir club. Because the school is usually only attended by kids from rich families, Jaya wasn't exactly having high hopes of getting accepted. However, she unexpectedly passes the entrance exam and got accepted into the school, which made her dad very proud and happy for her. And with that, Won-Sool and Jaya decides to move to Seoul from the countryside where they have been living for Jaya's whole life, as her school will be in Seoul. 

From the very first day of school, there has already been signs that a certain group are far more superior than everybody else. Jaya being either unaware and uncaring about this fact, continues to do things however she pleases. That is, until one day, she was spotted making out with one of the most desired senior class student, Kim Yoo-Jung (Lee Cheol-hee), who also happen to be Hye-seon's (Kim Saet-byeol) boyfriend. When Hye-seon finds out about what happened, she is not only angry but she is downright livid and decides that she is going to get her revenge on Jaya. And just when you thought things can't get any worse, it did. 




Disclaimer : This movie contains sexual abuse, and some quite disturbing scenes. Viewer discretion is advised. 



For those of you who are not familiar with Cerebral palsy, it is a disorder of movement, muscle tone or posture that is caused by damage that occurs to the developing brain, it often happens before birth. For people who have this disorder, they might sometimes have problem walking due to muscle stiffness, they suffer from intellectual disabilities, sometimes even hearing or seeing. 

Won-Sool suffers from Cerebral palsy disorder, and because of that, he is unable to get any kind of stable job and reverts to selling woman's undergarments on the side of the street. Because of the disorder that he is suffering, he sometimes gets himself into trouble with other people. In South Korea, it is mandatory to pay taxes for you to be able to open your booth on the side of the street. Won-Sool, who has no idea how any of this all works, will just start selling undergarments in front of the other person's stall and has gotten into problem for that. 


The only person he can count on in situations like this is Jaya. Just like how Won-Sool fiercely protects his only daughter Jaya from any harm, Jaya also does the same for her father. She will get into heated arguments and even fights to defend her father and will never let anyone talk badly about her dad. Not only that, Jaya also takes very good care of her dad. At home, she doesn't only clean, but she also does the laundry and cook breakfast and dinner as well. 


When Jaya got accepted to Dohwa Art high school, her father is beyond excited. Jaya, knowing that it is the school wealthy people attend to, asks her dad for money to buy her uniform, shoes, and books – which costs quite a fortune. On the first day of school, the president of the school choir club conducts a singing test. For those who sings well and passes the test, they will be granted the permission to join the club. When is comes to Jaya's turn to sing, she sings extremely well, almost to the point where it seems as if she is trying to brag about her singing ability and impress the senior class student Kim Yoo-Jung. Seeing this, Hye-seon, gets really angry and jealous of her. However, contrary to her natural behavior of eliminating all competition, Hye-seon doesn't act on it. 

Not long after that, the choir club decides to take a trip to the nearby villa to bond and get to know each other better. In the villa, they play drinking game while asking each other questions. When they asks Jaya what her father is doing, she lies and tells them her father own an apparel shop in a mall. The next morning when Jaya is having her morning walk, the president of the choir club Yoo-Jung tells Jaya that he has feelings for her and immediately kissing and groping her, to which Jaya did refuse, but definitely not enough to make him stop, I'm not sure if she even wants him to stop. 


That scene just ring the alarm really loudly in my head. I mean, I suppose the director wants to speed things up a little, but still, seeing that Jaya and Yoo-Jung barely even know each other for him to just suddenly come onto her is just plainly mind-boggling. I get that it must be electrifying to be in a relationship with someone of that status and with someone who everyone wants a piece of, but still. 

And Jaya's little rendezvous was captured on one of Hye-seon's friend, who eventually showed it to her. When Hye-seon sees that video, she is downright livid. She blames it all on Jaya, and vowed for revenge. Hye-seon first tracks down Min-Kyeong (Hwang Do-won), who is Jaya's only friend in the school and forces her to tell them everything that she knows about Jaya. With enough rattling, Min-Kyeong eventually budges and spills all the beans on Jaya. She tells Hye-seon the truth about Jaya's dad, where he is working, and what he is working as, and she even tells her where Jaya lives. 


With her new-found information, Hye-seon not only decides to confront Jaya, she even tells Yoo-Jung about it, which resulted in Yoo-Jung coming to Jaya's house and give her hell for it. And it is as if that is not enough, Hye-seon even got her expelled from the school by forcing her friends and Jaya's only friend Min-kyeong to lie to the school's principal that Jaya has been bullying them. And because Hye-seon's parents are powerful and wealthy, the school's staff all takes Hye-seon's side. Sweet Jaya, who is hot-tempered and really stubborn, decides to fight back by filing a complaint against the school and the school's choir club. When Yoo-Jung hears the news about what Jaya has done, and remembers how close it has come to tainting his image, he decides to give Jaya a visit and teach her a lesson that she will never forget. 

Going into this movie, I would have expected that Won-Sool is going to be the main character and there will be more scenes with him struggling with his disorder, but almost the entire runtime of the movie is dedicated to Jaya's harassment. The escalation is also mainly because Jaya does not handle the situation well. Granted, Jaya is a high school student, but even high school student would have know to go to the authorities in situations like this instead of going commando trying to solve things by herself.

"My Little Baby, Jaya" spends way too much time trying to make the viewers sympathize with Jaya and watch Jaya suffer. Causing it to eclipse the majority of the movie and only allowing the viewers to briefly empathize with her dad's feeling of powerlessness and anger, if any at all. Moreover, I find Kim Jeong-kyoon acting as a man who is suffering from Cerebral palsy a tad bit over-the-top and cringeworthy.

While this movie doesn't have the best storyline or acting, I think the director conveys the message through this movie loud and clear. I cannot tell you how angry I was while watching this movie. It made me so angry to the point where my blood is boiling knowing that issues of bullying and sexual abuse continue to plague high schools all over the world. However, the greater tragedy is the systems that allowed to remain in place, which more often ultimately fail the victim. 




This post first appeared on Caterpillar Buddies, please read the originial post: here

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My Little Baby, Jaya – How Bullying Destroys the Purest Of Souls

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