‘Umma,’ directed by Iris K. Shim, follows the story of Amanda (Sandra Oh), a Korean immigrant who lives on a rural farm with her daughter Chris. They keep bees and live a tranquil, idyllic life.
When word of Amanda’s mother’s death arrives, along with a suitcase containing the late woman’s ashes, everything changes. Amanda soon finds herself in a desperate battle with what she believes is the ghost of her mother.
The Korean word “umma” means “mother” or “mother,” which makes sense considering the film’s theme and plot. This is everything you need to know whether you’re wondering if ‘Umma’ is a horror movie or if it was inspired by true events.
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Is ‘Umma’ (2022) a Scary Movie?
Yes, ‘Umma’ can be classified as a horror movie. Shim does, after all, use a variety of typical horror genre components to tell her storey. However, she does not confine herself to the genre’s limitations, instead uses it as a springboard to construct a sophisticated picture about the immigrant experience.
Generational guilt in the diaspora is a major issue in the film, which often originates from attempts to reconcile the past with the present.
In an interview, Shim said, “It was like, how can I use the genre to bring to the surface some of the stuff that’s extremely internal?” “You can only kind of do it in the genre space to see a literal representation of someone turning into their mother.”
Is ‘Umma’ Movie Based on a True Story or a fictional One?
‘Umma,’ however, is not based on a true storey. Shim, on the other hand, drew on her own life experience to create the characters and their interactions.
“I observed my mother bending over backwards to care for her parents and her husband’s parents,” she explained. “I saw a vision of my mother as a daughter for a brief minute.” There’s this back-and-forth of mothers looking after their daughters and girls looking after their mothers. It’s almost like a symbiotic relationship.”
And this is mirrored in the film’s narrative. The otherworldly being chosen for ‘Umma’ sets it unique from usual horror fare. Amanda is haunted by the ghost of her mother, and a part of her doesn’t want to be successful in removing the supernatural presence.
Shim’s directorial debut, as well as her first collaboration with Oh, is ‘Umma.’ The ‘Killing Eve’ actor was significantly involved in the conception of Shim’s role, according to Shim. She even admitted that she wrote Amanda specifically for Oh.
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Shim grew up in a time when Asian American characters in Hollywood were frequently depicted in unflattering stereotypes. Things have changed dramatically since then.
It’s not just because of the surge in popularity of South Korean, Japanese, Chinese, and other Asian-produced content. The work of filmmakers like Shim and Chloé Zhao (‘Nomadland’) has pushed the Asian perspective on American society to the fore.
“Whenever I did see Asian faces on screen growing up, it was either Asian films or minor bit roles that were generally the punchline,” she recounted.
“Being able to explore the distinct Asian American perspective… each of these characters has a foot in both cultures,” says the author. While ‘Umma’ is not based on a true storey, it’s reasonable if some people believe it is.