Jung_E is a South Korean sci-fi movie released on Netflix in January 2023. Directed by Yeon Sang-ho, the film is set in a dystopic future characterized by a long war involving artificial intelligence forms. The plot is quite complex, and the ending may open some questions: what was the protagonist Yoon Seo-hyun trying to do? What was the unidentified yellow area discovered in Jung_E’s brain? And what does the ending mean? You’ll have all answers carefully explained in this article.
You can watch the official trailer for Jung_E here on Youtube.
Jung_E, the plot explained: what is the yellow area in her brain?
In Jung_E, the scientist Yoon Seo-hyun is working on an advanced artificial intelligence project intending to produce the perfect AI warrior: the starting point of this project is Jung_E, who was her mother, a mercenary who became a war hero years before. Jung_E became a military mercenary to pay for a delicate surgery needed by young Seo-hyun for her cancer. She will die on the day of the surgery, and the society’s chairman decides to finance the project that will evolve her brain to build the most advanced war AI possible.
Seo-hyun dedicates her whole life to this project, improving the digital copy of her mother’s brain step by step. They measure the performance of each evolution by simulating the battle where Jung_E died, every time with a newer version of her brain. But there is a problem: every version of Jug_E always dies at the exact moment, which is the actual situation where the original Jung_E died. The goal of the team of scientists is to understand why she dies there and improve the brain to overcome that situation. The move Jung_E will have that explained in the ending.
While experimenting, the team discovers an unidentified area of Jung_E’s brain, which will be marked as yellow. When activated, that area gives her incredible strength and will to fight, which makes her invincible, but it’s unclear what it is and how it’s triggered. That seems to be the key to understanding how to make Jung_E able to survive in that particular moment of the battle.
One day, Seo-hyun tries to talk to Jung_E after the simulation, in a friendly voice, and she discovers the answer to both questions: Jung_E died at that precise moment because she was distracted by the discovery that she lost the doll her daughter gave her that morning. While talking about her daughter, the yellow area in her brain is triggered, and there we understand what it represents: it’s love. The mother’s love for her daughter, to be precise, a special force that forces her to survive and be next to her daughter again.
When we discover that the war AI project will be dismissed because no longer needed (the war is going to end), we see Seo-hyun altering Jung_E’s brain for the last simulation: she erases her memory and decreases her yellow love area to zero. Initially, we are led to believe that Seo-hyun wants to build a flawless warrior, without love and attachments, hoping that she will succeed in the simulation. But the motivation is different, and we discover it in the final scenes. Let’s have Jung_E ending explained in a dedicate chapter.
The ending: what was Seo-hyun’s personal goal?
The truth is that even without love and the awareness to have a daughter, Jung_E always dies at the same moment of the simulation. But this time, she’s not shot in the head: her brain, in her most advanced version after many improvements made in the project, is intact. And using that brain, she wants to escape the lab.
In a critical moment of the ending, we see Seo-hyun helping Jung_E. Before the police come, she removes her brain and inserts it in another cyborg, allowing her to escape. But the head of the research institute understood: he finds them and tries to kill Jung_E. Seeing the efforts Seo-hyun makes in saving her mother, Jung_E, we understand what motivated her actions: Seo-hyun only wanted her mother to live happily, with the most advanced version of the brain. She decided to erase the memory of her daughter just to let her live without sadness, and she decreased her love level because loving her will affect her happiness (Seo-hyun is going to die a few months later because the cancer is back). But from the movie’s last scene, we understand that love cannot be erased from a brain with human origins: Jung_E cuddles Seo-hyun like she did years before.
Coming to Jung_E ending explained: in the last shot, we see Jung_E free, proof that she managed to escape. We assume Seo-hyun died from cancer or will die soon. But we can see the sadness in Jung_E’s eyes: she knows Seo-hyun was her daughter, she understands that she dedicated her whole life to allowing her mother to live. Jung_E is a brain close to perfection, with the right level of love, probably still unable to survive that famous battle, but living in a world where her daughter no longer exists.