In September 2009, a South Korean couple left their baby at home to play games overnight at an Internet cafe. The child died, and now HBO is using that event to explore gaming addiction.
Love Child is a documentary that looks into the story of how the South Korean couple, Kim Jae-beom and Kim Yun-jeong, let their real-world baby die while they raised a virtual child online. Director Valerie Veatch uses that story, as well as the pair’s legal defense, to look at online gaming and addiction. While the movie revolves around this single case, it makes an argument about the negative societal effects of online-gaming addiction. Veatch’s documentary will also include interviews with experts who will talk about the perils of an over-connected society.
The film debuts at 9 p.m. (your local time) tonight on HBO in the U.S., and you can check out the trailer below:
Based on the trailer, the film looks like a serious take on the subject, but some early reviews have voiced some issues.
“Valerie Veatch’s documentary tries too hard to be lyrical and important, incorporating images of role-playing games in lingering shots that have about as much as subtlety as being whacked over the head with a consolet,” Variety critic Brian Lowry wrote in his review. “Ultimately, there’s a story here worth seeing; it’s only too bad the film doesn’t fully do it justice.”
It’s also unclear how well the film will make its argument while only talking about one incident, but we’ll reserve judgment until we’ve seen it ourselves.
HBO has also released a quick clip of the film, which should give you an idea of the somber tone the documentary strikes: