Love Child

Directed by Valerie Veatch

In Seoul in the Republic of Korea, a young couple stands accused of neglect when "Internet addiction" in an online fantasy game costs the life of their infant daughter. Love Child documents the 2010 trial and subsequent ruling that set a global precedent in a world where virtual is the new reality.


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  • ★★★★½ review by Victor Morton on Letterboxd

    LOVE CHILD (Valerie Veatch, South Korea, 2014, 9)

    If, like me, you were skeptical about Her, Love Child is like a cautionary tale from Her-land, where all human relations have been so cyberized that even something as (you’d think) simple as “feed your baby” become just more virtuality fodder. The case that shocked South Korea—the world’s most plugged-in country as a result of deliberate government planning—concerned a mother and father charged with starving their 3-month-old to death because they couldn’t be bothered to feed her as they spent all their time playing the role-playing game “Prius.” And there are more twists than that—not as shocking as that one (how could they be?), but one is like seeing the “Generation Wired” equivalent of the Twinkie Defense unfold. It’s TV, but well-done TV; the framing of talking heads is loose, the stock footage well-chosen for the ideas Love Child is pushing about the level of Korean Internet penetration creating a nation of “addicts.” The filmmakers are able to use footage from Prius that is far more apropos than you’d ever dare guess, while the accused parents are basically never seen, so they become like avatars themselves. And the history of that word and its role in traditional Korean society makes for unexpected food for thought. The last shot is a bit on the nose, but it represents the reaction I had been having throughout. The only criticism I’d make is that there were some places I wanted more from a film that’s lean and short—more interrogation of “diminished capacity” defenses, both under Korean law and Anglo-American common law; more about video games as public contests in South Korea; more about the side effects of new legislation the case prompted. At times, Love Child feels as if it’s only skimming the surface. But what a surface.


    First published at SLC Weekly:

  • ★★★½ review by Crawlspace Dweller Matt on Letterboxd

    "Don't be sad. If you earn enough experience points you can revive me."

    Love Child is a documentary about a Korean couple who let their baby starve to death at home while they were in an internet café playing an mmorpg to farm gold, the only way they earned any money.

    It's an interesting look at the legal investigation of the case and the subject of internet/gaming addiction in South Korea.

    Well structured and presented.

  • ★★★★½ review by Jamel Chhedi on Letterboxd

    This new documentary is a great companion piece to the documentary "Web Junkie" which also follows Asians with an online gaming addiction.

    It primarily revolves around the case and trial of two South Korean parents who left a 3 month old malnourished baby at home alone for 10 hours to go to an Internet cafè to play video games. The most ironic and tragic thing about this is that the game they were playing revolved around protecting a child like character in a role playing game.

    It's really sickening to see how far this addiction can drive you, and I went straight in and hugged my 5 month old son after watching it and reflected on my own use of iPhones, iPads and other electronic devices when being with my family. Because even though online addiction still is not as extreme here as it is in Asia, there's still a further anti-socialization of our society today due to "social" networks like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

  • ★★★★½ review by Klanwachtr on Letterboxd

    Traumatisierend... und nebenbei ne sehr gute Doku, die weit hinter den beleuchteten Fall blickt.

  • ★★★½ review by Benn Ray on Letterboxd

    Heartwrenching. Still not sure I comprehend the how/why of what happened, but feel like that only sketches of the man and woman responsible for the death of their child were presented. But a damn compelling story.

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