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  • Writer's pictureJames Rutherford

'Columbus': A Warmly-Realized Story About Two Strangers Converging in America's Architectural Mecca


Movie poster for Columbus

Columbus (2017) is a warmly-realized drama starring John Cho and Haley Lu Richardson as Jin and Casey, strangers who serendipitously meet by chance in Columbus, Indiana. The film unfolds against the backdrop of Columbus' modernist architectural landmarks, as Jin and Casey form an unexpected bond while exploring the city's architectural treasures.


Jin has recently arrived from South Korea to attend to his estranged father, who has fallen ill while visiting Columbus for a lecture. Casey is a young woman who works in a local library while living with her mother, a recovering drug addict. As Jin grapples with the impending death of his father and Casey struggles with her own aspirations and responsibilities, their chance encounter becomes a catalyst for introspection and solidarity. Through their conversations about architecture, life and loss, the two navigate their dilemmas and forge a bond that challenges their perceptions of themselves and their futures.


Written and directed by South Korean-American filmmaker Kogonada (After Yang), Columbus is a leisurely exploration of compassion and kinship. The architectural marvels of Columbus serve as a metaphor for the characters' emotional landscapes, highlighting the beauty and complexity of their shared experience. As Jin and Casey navigate their own journeys of self-discovery, "Columbus" offers a poignant exploration of grief, identity and the transformative power of human affinity.


 

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