TIFF Review: Aloners

Jina prefers to be alone

Traditionally, anyone living alone was, at best, considered odd, and at worst, a witch, warlock or some kind of pervert. The only people who generally managed to get away with it were those who devoted themselves to religion. Nowadays, it has become a much more common phenomenon. In Seoul, for instance, one third of homes are now single occupancy. With so much of our lives now online, it has become increasingly simple to do everything solo, but that doesn’t mean we really want to. This is the crux of Aloners.

Jina (Gong Seung-yeon) is in her twenties, lives alone in a small apartment and is the top employee in a financial services call centre. She does everything alone. Works, eats, sleeps. Spending the time between glued to a screen. This is her routine, day in, day out. However, this pattern is thrown out of kilter by a couple of things. Firstly, her boss insists that she train the new girl and then her neighbour begins acting increasingly strangely.  

Aloners is a really clever drama which tackles a societal issue from a refreshingly unusual angle. We get to know Jina. Understand her logic. Empathise with her (some of us, a bit too much). However, this cold camouflage is more self-preservation than choice. Gong is perfect in the role. Her eyes conveying a thousand words. Hong Seong-eun injects a levity into her feature debut. Making Aloners both powerful and extremely entertaining.  

Aloners screens at Toronto International Film Festival.

Previous TIFF Review: The Odd-Job Men
Next TIFF Review: The Girl and the Spider

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