‘The Drop Box’ Review

By Isaac Whatley

The city of Seoul, South Korea and many other eastern highly-populated cities have a growing problem; babies are being abandoned. In a culture where births from unwed mothers are considered shameful and the cost of raising a child is too much to bear, often times mothers must experience the shame and hurt of leaving their child at someone else’s doorstep, where in cold temperatures, these babies usually pass away from the weather. The Drop Box tells the story of Korean Pastor Lee Jong-rak and his attempts to save these abandoned babies from the cold by implementing a “baby drop box” into the side of his church, where abandoned babies can be left warm, and can be cared for by Pastor Lee ad his wife.

     This documentary is heartwarming and heart-breaking at the same time as audiences see the love and passion of a man who longs to care for abandoned children, yet has to experience the pain of watching a child be left behind by its mother. Throughout the film, accounts from several of Pastor Lee’s family members are given on what it is like seeing babies being dropped off at their church and home.

The film also takes a look into the controversy surrounding the idea of the “baby drop box.” Some say that a drop box encourages mothers to leave their babies behind and that the box is a way to enable the abandonment of babies. While this is a valid thought, this film reveals the true need for the box. Without it, babies would surely die from the cold. Many of the children that are left behind have disorders such as down syndrome and without the accepting love of Pastor Lee, would have never survived.

     The film also take s a look into Pastor Lee’s inspiration for saving the babies. The audience discovers that Pastor Lee’s son also has a disorder that allows little brain activity and causes him to need to lay down almost all of the time. Lee says that this was one of the reasons that he felt inspired to help other children with disorders. Pastor Lee also make an effort to let audiences know that it is his unshakable faith in God that keeps him doing what he does. After each child arrives at the church, he prays for them and the film makes it clear that he trusts in God to help him help the children. Several of the children that are left behind were adopted personally by Pastor Lee and his wife. The film closes with Pastor Lee being asked why he chooses to adopt the children. His response is, “Because God adopted me.”

From a production standpoint, this film is gorgeous. Similarly to other Heartland film, American Real: The Forrest Lucas Story, this film used a lot of production techniques not normally seen in a documentary; with elaborate shots and the use of a very high-resolution camera, the film looks like that of a feature film. The cinematography brings the story of Pastor Lee to the theaters in a way nearly as beautiful as the story itself.

The film, while very somber at points, ends on a very happy note. The audience sees how happy the children really are, with smiles on their faces and loving parents to care for them. This goes to show that though these children were abandoned, it doesn’t mean they were forgotten or unloved.

I found this film to be incredibly inspiring. From looking right into the lives of an amazing man and his faith, to seeing the impact that his family had on such a prevalent issue, this film is powerful.

Verdict: Incredible, I found this film to be incredibly inspiring. From looking right into the lives of an amazing man and his faith, to seeing the impact that his family had on such a prevalent issue, this film is powerful.
Positives: Heartwarming story, excellent production techniques.
Negatives: Nothing.