The Glory: your next movie night in

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This is a digital drawing of the main character, Moon Dong-eun. Her hair is in a bob and she stares off to one side. Cherry blossoms frame either side of the piece, and the title The Glory is printed at the bottom, beginning to fade away.
Let the pain fade away. Lee Lim

A captivating story about high school bullying, long-held trauma, and revenge 

The Glory is a Netflix Korean drama directed by Ahn Gil-ho. It features well-known Korean actors such as Song Hye-kyo and Lee Do-hyun, among others. It is a captivating story about a young woman who goes on a mission for revenge against the high school bullies who tormented and tortured her. What is interesting is that The Glory does not follow the story through the lens of revenge being something that ultimately destroys the one seeking it. Rather, the notion of revenge is shown as one that is painful, tedious, and empowering.  

Played by Song Hye-kyo, Moon Dong-eun was once a teenager who had her entire life uprooted by her bullies. In her high school years, they abused her so horrifically that it led to trauma. As things get worse, Moon Dong-eun eventually leaves her school and promises to herself that she will destroy all of her bullies one day. She crafts a meticulous plan to get back at her bullies.  

Over time, Moon Dong-eun works her way up and manages to become a teacher. She ends up teaching at the school one of her high school bullies sends her daughter to. Moon Dong-eun re-introduces herself to her bullies, and things start to go down.  

She enlists the help of a dermatologist who is also battling through his own issues after witnessing the death of his father. As the drama carries on, Moon Dong-eun and the dermatologist get closer and closer. The mission of revenge however drives them apart from each other, as they feel their worlds crashing down. It is clear that revenge is taking a toll on Moon Dong-eun and she finds it difficult to navigate her feelings of rage and sadness, but also the guilt she feels from the fact that she is harming some people who do not deserve it along the way. 

What I enjoy about The Glory is that it shows how people carry feelings of rage and often are unaware of what they should do with these feelings. Some choose to bottle them up until they explode, whereas others choose to actively pursue them.  

Furthermore, the themes of wealth, power, pride, and greed are interesting. At times, people expect apologies from those who have hurt them. The sad reality is that a lot of people sleep peacefully at night after harming others. They do not feel guilt. They do not feel sadness. They do not feel empathy for their victims. Rather, they see their victims as nuisances. Even up until the end, Moon Dong-eun’s bullies never apologize for the harm and suffering that they inflicted upon her.  

The Glory is a perfect reflection of life. Many people chase after revenge with the belief that their abusers will one day apologize to them and feel empathy for them. Unfortunately, this is a rarity. Many people carry on with their lives holding onto the pain they went through.  

When all you have known is anguish and agony, it is extremely difficult to let go of these feelings. It is something that you have to actively work through. The Glory teaches us that, sometimes, there is no light at the end of the tunnel. Sometimes you have to shine your own flashlight through the tunnel. That is the only way to get through it.  

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