There are many female actors who have impressive action chops or pursue to become character actors. But few of them would give absolutely everything even if that means they could ruin their positive images. Seo Younghee is one of such actors. She began acting on stage in 1999 and expanded her scope to act on screen through the movie Jealousy Is My Middle Name (2003). The film revealed the great potential of Seo, who played a seemingly naive character that got intensely obsessed with those she loved.
Perhaps due to her unique image tinged with the kind but sad atmosphere, the characters Seo played were often mired in an extreme situation. They include a persecuted female student in To Sir, With Love (2006), Wolyeong who ends her life at the pinnacle of tragedy in Shadows in the Palace (2007), and Mijin, a victim who is hit by a hammer and struggling on the bathroom floor in The Chaser (2008). Seo often appeared on screen with the blood, instead of makeup, all over her face, keeping the audience on the edge of their seats. The film that put the actor on the map is The Chaser (2008). The entire audience genuinely prayed for the safety of Seo’s character while watching the film, which was possible thanks to Seo Younghee’s intense and realistic performance.
In Bedevilled (2010), Seo played the leading role for the first time in 11 years since her debut. It was a refreshingly different kind of character from her previous victim roles. In this provocative film, which was acclaimed at the 63rd Cannes Film Festival-Critics Week, the actor played Kim Boknam, who relentlessly wielded a sickle against those who had bullied her. Critics and audiences cheered at her performance which is as if she was venting out the anger she accumulated from her previous films. Kim Boknam was recognized as the most impressive female character in Korean movies that year, sweeping the Best Actress awards at various film festivals. It was the moment when the actor’s presence took root in Chungmuro.
In 2015, Seo returned to the Cannes International Film Festival again with Madonna (2015) . Subtly conveying sensitive emotions with her eyes and facial expressions, the actor captivated the audience throughout the film. More recently, Seo played the owner of a butcher’s shop with a mysterious atmosphere in Night of the Undead (2020), dominating the screen with her eccentric atmosphere. Her performance in the film makes us think that there are still many more different aspects of her to be discovered. But no need to be impatient as we know that she will keep impressing us with her multi-faceted charms and performances. JUNG Siwoo