The Bow

Watch The Bow

"A girl who thought the sea was the whole world, became the whole world to an old man."
  • NR
  • 2005
  • 1 hr 30 min
  • 7.1  (11,788)

Set in a remote fishing village off the coast of South Korea, The Bow is a thought-provoking, poetic meditation on the intersection of age, love, and desire. The story centers on an elderly man, known only as “the old man,” who ekes out a living as a fisherman, and the young girl, referred to as “the girl,” whom he has raised since she was a baby.

The film opens with scenes of the old man and the girl aboard his traditional fishing boat, which is equipped with a makeshift shooting range. The old man has trained the girl to be a skilled archer, and she is his only companion in the world. As their boat drifts out to sea, the old man explains to the girl that she is now of marrying age, and that he plans to find a suitable husband for her.

However, the girl is not ready to leave her idyllic existence with the old man, and she begins to realize that the old man has feelings for her that go beyond those of a father figure. As they approach the shore, a group of young men from the village gather to welcome them back, and one of them catches the old man’s eye. The old man invites the young man to come with them on their next fishing trip, and he becomes a regular presence on the boat.

As the days pass, the girl becomes increasingly jealous of the young man’s attentions to the old man, and she begins to realize that she is—perhaps for the first time—sexually attracted to him. She confides in an old woman from the village, who tells her that it’s natural to feel desire at her age, but warns her that she must be careful not to hurt the old man.

As tension builds on the boat, the old man becomes increasingly withdrawn, and the girl realizes that he has been keeping a secret from her that may change everything she thought she knew about their relationship. As their boat approaches a nearby island, the girl is faced with a choice that will have profound consequences for all of them.

The Bow is a visually stunning film, with director Kim Ki-duk using the natural scenery to great effect. The shots of the boat drifting out to sea, with the mountains and cliffs in the background, are breathtaking, and the use of light and shadow is masterful. The performances by the three main actors are impressive, especially considering the minimal dialogue and complex emotions they are asked to convey.

One of the strengths of the film is the ambiguity of the relationships between the characters. The old man’s feelings for the girl are never fully explained, and the girl’s motives are left to the viewer to interpret. The young man is also something of an enigma, with his true intentions unclear until the very end.

The Bow is also a deeply philosophical film, exploring questions of life, death, and the passage of time. The old man frequently muses on the nature of existence, and the film’s themes of mortality and the impermanence of all things are subtly woven throughout.

Overall, The Bow is a haunting, beautiful film that lingers in the mind long after the credits have rolled. It’s a testament to the power of cinema to tell a story without words, and to the complexities of human relationships.

The Bow is a 2005 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 30 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.1.

The Bow
Where to Watch The Bow
The Bow is available to watch free on Kanopy. It's also available to stream, download on demand at . Some platforms allow you to rent The Bow for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 30 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.1  (11,788)