Jina is the top employee at a call center, but despite talking to customers all day, she has shut out the world beyond her headset; she lives alone, eats alone, sleeps alone, and her cell phone is her constant companion. When one day she's tasked with training a friendly and naive new hire, her icy armor is threatened. At the same time, she must navigate an incessantly ingratiating new neighbor, and increasingly urgent phone calls from her father, leaving Jina teetering on the edge of an existential crisis, forcing her to confront why she has isolated herself all these years. Riffing on the Korean ‘honjok’ – a phenomenon of young people who live alone and skirt social interaction – to examine the personal traumas of loss and alienation, this subtly poetic directorial debut is a "stirring portrait of the cages we build for ourselves and questions how and when we may want to be free of them," (Ms. Magazine).
- "An introspective film, simultaneously gripping and melancholy but punctuated by moments of humor, Aloners is a stirring portrait of the cages we build for ourselves—and questions how and when we may want to be free of them."
- "Bolstered by a layered and subtle performance of Gong, Aloners is a compelling snapshot of modern daily life for many in Korea and around the world."
- "[A]cute character observation, impressive directorial control and a strong performance from lead actress Gong Seung-yeon. "
- "In one of the most complex and intriguing performances of 2021, Gong keeps us guessing about what Jin-na is really thinking and feeling."
- "This subtle, but effective vision of loneliness is wholly emotional and relatable, especially now. Featuring a powerful central performance, it marks a stellar directorial debut from Hong Seong-eun."
- "“Aloners” is a great drama about modern loneliness and isolation as aspects of modern life. Apart from its magnificent central performance, Hong Seong-eun’s feature debut is a promising calling card, and we can only hope to hear more from her in the future."
- "[T]here’s both an emotional intelligence and wry sense of humour throughout Hong Sung-eun’s script. Hong’s calm, methodical directorial style and measured tone run in perfect sync with the subtle affect of Gong’s turn, while a soothing score from Lim Min-ju amplifies the tender anguish without ever overpowering."
Awards & Recognition
Torino Film Festival
CGV Korean Independent Feature
Jeonju Film Festival
Best Acting Award
Jeonju Film Festival
Best New Actress
Korean Association of Film Critics
New Directors Award
San Sebastián Int'l. Film Festival
Asian Film Awards
Zurich Film Festival
Toronto Int'l. Film Festival