Surprised by “The Drop Box”

Did you miss the film The Drop Box when it was first released? I did. I thought that the documentary about a Korean pastor’s work saving abandoned children was a good idea, and I figured I’d watch it eventually – and then other things crowded it out. This week, in the middle of a free trial of Netflix, I finally watched it.

I recommend that you do the same. It was far more powerful than I expected.

Pastor Lee, who created a “drop box” in South Korea. Photo courtesy thedropboxfilm.com.

I guess I expected a feel-good movie, dripping with sentimentality. What I saw instead had an edge that was unsettlingly hard. Pastor Lee and his extended family, the people at the core of the film, are caring for one another in the midst of some grim conditions. Disabilities are not glossed over or prettified. The area government is not supportive of the pastor’s “drop box” – a safe haven for abandoned children – with the result that some social-service resources are denied to the children cared for by Pastor Lee and his wife. Needs abound, while solutions are scarce. The Lees respond with loving hearts and faith in God, taking care of as many children as they can.

It’s amazing and essential work. It’s not easy. The Lees are draining themselves in every respect, devoting their lives to the children they’ve rescued. The film is candid about the power of the ministry as well as its costs.

If you find yourself sampling a streaming service, see if The Drop Box is on the menu, tucked in between the travelogues and the sports documentaries. As tough as it is inspiring, The Drop Box is worth your undivided attention.