Umma (2022) - full transcript

Amanda and her daughter live a quiet life on an American farm, but when the remains of her estranged mother arrive from Korea, Amanda becomes haunted by the fear of turning into her own mother.

One, two, three.

What do you wanna call her?


- Zizi, okay.
- Mm-hm.

Okay, one, two, three, Zizi.

Hi, Zizi.

She's so cute.

Yuck, you know
that grosses me out.

What? This?


Oh! Ew!

No, I'm not done.

You're such a slow reader.

- Did you get to the part where...?
- Shh.




The lightning is too far away.

It can't hurt you.

Second down nine, from their own 35.

The score...


Hey, here's for
your fluffy little friends.


Here are our
last quarter's statements.

Wait till you see
this quarter.

Remember how I've been trying
to sell your honey online?

Remember how I thought
it was a waste of time?

Vividly. But maybe it wasn't
such a waste of time after all.

Can barely keep up with orders.
Keep selling out.

But... How?

some lifestyle influencer

posted about your honey,

and it kind of went viral.

I don't know
what any of that means.

To be honest, Amanda,
I don't think I do either.

My niece tried
to explain it to me, but...

What I do know is I can sell
every drop of this you make.

And more.

- Hey, want some juice?
- Oh, yes, please.

What is this?

We need more colonies.

Danny says our honey keeps
selling out on the Internet.

But that's a lot more work.

Yeah, but this is
what we do, right?

It's nothing the two of us
can't handle together.

Thank you.

Actually, Mom,
I was thinking maybe...

Take that to Danny
after breakfast, would you?

Excuse me. Hello.

Excuse me?

I don't understand you.

Oh. Thank you. Thank you.


Stop. Don't come any closer.

Shut the car off. Turn it off.

Who are you?

Get out of my house.

There she is.

Hey, Danny.

Hey, I was
just thinking about you.

Come here. There's a waiting
list to buy your honey.

- Cool, right?
- Yeah.



She building more hives?

Great. I may have to order
some of this stuff.

Let me check stock
and see what we have.

River, will you watch
the counter for a second?

Why? You think
she's gonna rob the place?

This is my niece,

who will be staying with me
a few weeks

while her folks are out of town.

- River, this is Chris.
- Hey.


I like your makeup.


I really like your freckles.

Wish I had them.


No. Don't touch that.


Where'd it come from?


Was someone here earlier?

What's on your face?




I'm coming.

Chris, I'm coming.




Chrissy, where are you?

- Mommy!
- Oh, God.

Honey, answer me.


- Chris?
- Help!

Come here.



Were you having a nightmare?



Are you okay?

You're just acting
kind of weird.

Where did this come from?

Chrissy, I asked you a question.

It was Danny.

He gave it to me.

Danny? Why?

Because he's my friend.

He's not your friend.
I do his books.

I pay him to help us.

He's your friend too, Mom.

He's our only friend.

So you wanna go to college?



Oh, nice haul.

That'll make some
of your customers real happy.


What's up?
Did I say something wrong?

Uh, you know,

I never, in a million years,

thought I would be a beekeeper.

I mean, I'm...
I'm an accountant.

What did I know
about making honey?

But more than that,

I hated bees.

I hated the sound they made.

The constant buzzing that
just crawls under your skin.

But then one day,

Chrissy came home
with a book about beekeeping

and became obsessed
with the idea.

She wanted
to start a hive so badly.

She even asked me
to help her convince you.

I was nervous at first, but...


was fearless.

- Yeah.
- Surrounded by all those bees.

But it made her so happy.

And that made me happy.

It made me feel
like I was a good mother.

So we kept adding more hives.

It was something we were
always supposed to do together.

So I was really surprised

when I found the college
application that you gave her.

Oh, look, I-I gave her
that application,

but that's because
she asked me for it.

You probably think
this is not any of my business,

but don't you think going to
college could be good for her?

You know, make some friends,

learn to live life
on her own a little?

I'm sorry.
You didn't really expect

she was gonna
stay here forever, did you?

No. No.

I hate
you. I wish you were dead.

You didn't really expect

that she was gonna
stay here forever, did you?




Why are you wearing that?

I'm sorry, Mommy.
I was just trying it on.

I found it up here.

- Take it off.
- Why?

- Take it off.
- Why?

What's going on?

You've been acting...

I'm just worried about you.

I'm fine.

What's in the suitcase?

I said, I'm fine.

Disobedient little girl.


Let me out, please.

Mommy, let me out.

- Chris?
- Mommy?


It's too heavy.


What were you doing down there?

Are you okay?

Who is this woman?

Tell me who she is.


Don't talk to me.

But when I'm gone,
you'll have no one left

to keep your secrets from.


Someone did come
to our house the other day.

With a suitcase.

That man was my uncle.

He came here from Korea
to tell me my mother died.

Grandma Gloria and Grandpa Bill
aren't my real parents.

I made them up.

I was raised by my mother.

My real mother.

What's inside?

My mother's remains.

And her most
cherished possessions.

Is this her?

Your mom?

That's my umma.


I never thought I'd be
in the same room with her again.

What else have you been lying
to me about?

No, Chrissy, I...

What do you wanna know?

Was this hers?

It's called a hanbok.

She made it herself.

She was very proud of her work.

She hoped
to pass it down to me.

What's this?

That's a tal.

It's a family heirloom.

It's been worn by the women
in our family for generations.

Why is all this stuff in here?

She always said she'd take

her favorite things
with her to the afterlife.

She probably left them
for her ceremony.

What kind of ceremony?

Well, some Koreans believe
that life's hardships

are caused by the tormented
spirits of their ancestors,

so they make offerings
to appease their tortured souls.

Is that what you believe?

I don't believe in superstition.

There's something else
in here.

What is it?


What's wrong?

Good morning.

- Hey.
- Hi.

- Oh, here.
- No, no, hey, I got it.

It's what you pay me for.

Um, is your niece still here?

I was thinking about
having a game night with Chris,

if you guys wanted to join.

I thought it would be
good for her.


Do you want me to do your hair?


Not so hard.




Ten. Yellow ten.
Yellow ten, yellow ten, yellow ten.

Isn't there like a time limit
on each hand?

Oh, oh, oh.

I think I got it. Uh...

Ah-ah, Rummikub.

- Rummikub.
- Yeah...

Do you wanna go
hang out upstairs?

Is it?

- Yes.
- Really?

You don't wanna play
another round?

No. No, it's okay.

Thank you.


Cool spot.

Is that a college application?


I didn't even know
you could apply on paper.

Your life is so retro.

Do you even have a phone?


So how do you talk
to your friends?

Well, my mom is my friend.

But I totally have
other friends.

So you pinch the X
in the middle,

then you go under to go over,
and then pull it out.

Nice. Take it out.

Good job.

Like this.

Pinch this. Then this.

I talked about you with those
kids that hang out at the store.

You what?

Just think it's so funny.

I mean, how lame can you get?

They literally have
nothing better to do

than gossip about
why you live like this.

It's pathetic.

Is that your phone?


Danny didn't tell you
to leave it in the car?

- He did, but...
- You have to turn it off.

My mom can't be
near electricity.

What? Why not?

She'll get really sick.

Okay. Um...

I had my phone with me
this whole time,

and your mom seemed fine.

What happens
when she gets sick?

Shit, I haven't
had a beer since...

Since before Chris.

- Really?
- It's not like...

You know, it's not like
Chris can be my drinking buddy.

Whoa. Is that you?

Yeah, my damn knee has
been killing me lately.

- Mm.
- Oh, God.

I can hear myself
turning into my mother.

Amanda, you okay?

I think...

I think
there's something wrong.

Chris is such a good kid,
you know.

Just talk to her.

I didn't want you to know her.

My father said
she was so radiant,

and so fun,

when they first got married
in Korea.

And then they came to America.

The land of the...
The free.

The land of opportunities.

I think we were happy.

He was completely enamored
with this place.

But my mom...

she struggled.

Everything here
felt foreign to her.

She was scared all the time.

She stopped leaving the house.

She changed.

I remember so much screaming.

I think my dad
couldn't take it anymore.

And after he left,
I was all she had.

So I had to do it all.

I had to take it all.

All her rage.

Her spite.

And her...

The moment I got pregnant,
I made myself a promise.

I made you a promise.

I will never become my mother.

Why would you do this?

Do what?


It's ruined.

I'll have to do it again.

I didn't do that.

Well, if you didn't do it,
then who did?


She's here.

- What?
- She's the one

who did this
to your application.



She thinks
you're running away from us.

There's no point
in talking to you

if you're gonna act like this.

Act like what?

Like a psycho bitch.


What did you call me?

I called you a crazy psycho.

And you know what?

I can't wait to leave.


Oh, honey,
you're not going anywhere.

You can't force me to stay.

I don't have to.

Sweetie, sweetie.

You can't even make friends.

You're too scared.

I'm the one who had to invite
River to game night for you.

Why are you acting like this?

I'm your mother.

I'm the only one
who is gonna tell you the truth.

And the truth is...

you can't do it.

Fine, leave.
Are you forgetting what happened

the last time
you tried to go to school?

The time before that?
Or the time before that?

Are you forgetting how
you'd run home crying every day?

"Mommy, nobody wants
to play with me.

- Mommy, they call me names."
- Shut up.

You begged me
to homeschool you, didn't you?

You pleaded with me.

So, what did I do?
I homeschooled you.

You wanted friends?
I was your friend.

You wanted
to build a bee colony?

I built you one
with my own hands.

Everything I have done
since the day you were born

has been for you.
To make you happy.

To give you a home.

A good home. A safe home.

All of this is for you.

You think
all of this is for me?

Do you mean living like this?

Cut off from the rest of
the world, like total freaks?

You're delusional.
You're just hiding something.

It doesn't really hurt you,
does it?

The electricity.


Your sickness.

It's not real.

Yes, it is.

- Just because you can't see it...
- It's not.

It's just a made-up thing.

Some demented,
imaginary thing in your head.

And it's fucking pathetic.

You said you'd never
become your mother.

But that's just another lie.


Chris, where are you going?


Chris, don't leave.




Did you know it wasn't real?

Her sickness?

The electricity?

Did you know?

It's real to her.

Why didn't you say anything?

I did. I tried so many times
to get her to see someone.

But she refused to go.
She kept insisting...

No, why didn't you
say anything to me?

I don't...

I don't know.
I thought you knew.

Of course I didn't know.

If I knew, I would have
done something about it.

Wait, let me drive you home.

Is this what you want?

A final resting place?

Now leave me alone.

Let me go!

Go away.

Want a ride?

I got you something.

It's a little
going-away present.

Well, technically
I'm the one leaving,

so I guess just a present,
but anyway...

What is this?

It's a planner for school.

You can put your class
assignments in it, schedule...


Most people just use
the calendar app,

but, you know,
I figure you're not most people.

You are going, right?

You have to go.

I don't have to do anything.

I mean, true, but...

you should.


Look, I know you think
people think you're weird,

and I'm not gonna lie,
you are.

But, no, you think being weird
is a bad thing.

You think you're the only one.
But you know what? You're not.

There are tons
of other weirdos out there.

Cool, interesting people
like you.

You just have to go out
into the world and find them.

Don't you wanna know
what it's like?

What you're like
somewhere else?

Bye. Good luck.


Are you here?




Time to pay our respects.

What is all this?

This is a jesa.

This is what we do
to honor our ancestors.

To be with them, so they're
not alone in the afterlife.

Get down on your knees
and pay your respects.


You said you don't believe
in this stuff.

- Do it.
- No.

You stubborn, disrespectful
little girl.

You remind me
so much of your mother.

She tried to run away too.

Away from the home I gave her.

Do you know what I had to do
when she disobeyed me?

I had to lock her in a closet

so she could think about
all the ways she hurt me.

Umma. Umma.

Mommy, you're scaring me.

She was scared too,

because she couldn't see
how much it hurt me

every time she ran away.

I needed her to believe me.

She needed to understand

my pain was real.

We had an old lamp.
My favorite lamp.

With a broken wire.

So I made her hold it,

until my pain became hers,

and we could feel it together.

But she never learned
her lesson.

You can never escape.


Help me.

Get off of me.

Mommy, it's me.

Look at me.

You sang me back to sleep

every time I had nightmares.

It's true.

You taught me to ride a bike,

even though you didn't know how.

I didn't mean what I said.

You are not her.


Get off. Get off.

God. Oh, God. Oh, God.

- Mommy?
- Chris?

Oh, God.

I'm so sorry, Chris.

I'm sorry.

I almost did to you
what she did to me.

Listen to me.

Listen to me.

I had no idea
what you went through.

I wish I knew.

Okay. Okay, we need to go.



- Chris.
- Mommy.


- Run!
- No!




- Ready?
- Mm-hm.

I hope your
soul finds peace, Umma.


I wish this thing had pockets.

- He's on his way.
- Oh.

How much did you pack?

All right, college girl.

- You ready?
- Mm-hm.

We'll call you
when we get there, Amanda.