I Want to Know Your Parents: the school drama thriller’s ending, explained

I Want to Know Your Parents

An 8th grader takes his life. He names the students who bullied him. What happens next in this 2022 South Korean movie is what parents of those children do. Let us find out!

Spoilers ahead!

A drowned boy is found

Parents of four 8th graders are called to the prestigious Haneum International Middle School to meet the principal. A boy, Kim Geon-woo, was found drowned is currently unconscious. It’s a believed suicide attempt since he sent a letter to his homeroom teacher- Ms. Song, saying he was bullied and names of his 4 bullies.

The four students are from affluent families. Hospital president Do Ji-yeol’s son- Do Yoon-jae. Jeong’s son- a teacher in that school- Jeong I-deun. Grandson of Park Moo-taek, a former chief of National Police Agency- Park Kyu-beom. Lastly, the inmate consultation lawyer Kang Ho-chang’s son- Kang Han-gyeol.

The side investigation by the parents

Parents come together. In their collusion, Ho-chang and Ji-yeol search the boy’s dorm. Geon-woo used to share it with Han-gyeol. They find Geon-woo’s phone and take it to get it unlocked- paying a lot of money since it’s to be under wraps.

In it, they find incriminating videos of the kids torturing and bullying Kim Geon-woo. Han-gyeol is the one aside, just recording. Ho-chang also find the text messages of a girl named Nam Jiho who seems to have witnessed something.

Again, both the men go talk to Jiho and upon hearing that she witnessed the bullying, give her money to stay quite. Geon-woo is undergoing treatment- still unconscious.

Homeroom teacher’s concern

Ms. Song is asked to forfeit the letter to the principal so the evidence can stay hidden. What’s worse is that they want to cut all ties with the boy. She also finds out that Geon-woo and Han-gyeol were best friends until 7th grade.

Song takes it upon herself to follow the investigation and checks her dash-cam, talks to the boy’s mom. Under disguise, Ji-yeol transfers the boy to his medical centre to better take care of him. But he soon dies. On the other hand, the letter has been destroyed by the other two parents.

Things go back to normal with the 4 kids and their families. But when Song sees the heartbroken condition of Geon-woo’s mother, she goes live to tell the truth.

The police, the statements, the betrayal

Soon, media attention picks the case up and despite Park Moo-taek’s influence and connections, another precinct starts investigations anew. All the parents come together at the principal’s home to discuss their next steps.

It’s decided that they need to make their story fool-proof to avoid charges against the kids and themselves. But things don’t go as planned.

At the station, it’s found that all three have colluded against Kang Han-gyeol and framed him as the bully. Moreover, even Jiho came as a witness to identify him to be the perpetrator. He is sent into custody.

Court proceedings and fight for justice

The court proceedings see Ho-chang being his son’s lawyer. The stories of the parents are solid. Ho-chang is left wondering how to free his son since he was the one who destroyed evidences too.

Nam Jiho is also called to give a testimony. When Ho-chang gets to know this, he realizes that she was paid by the other parents. He takes her in his car to talk and she says Han-gyeol is one kid, the other’s count as 3.

Ho-chang also comes across a small grocery shop owner who tells him that Han-gyeol used to come there with bruises and cuts late in the night. Connecting the dots, he is struck with the fact that his son was a victim too.

The verdict and a devastating revelation

In the end, the court is made aware of the fact that the 3 boys used to bully Han-gyeol but offered him to trade places with his best friend Geon-woo. Han-gyeol is set free. Ho-chang goes to thank the shop-owner for her help and testimony.

There he talks to the man who pulled Geon-woo out of the lake, saying that there was also a big flying bird near him which he couldn’t see. Ho-chang understands it to be the drone that Yoon-jae gifted to Han-gyeol- still in his car. When he sees the recording in it, he is broken.

The ending- what’s in the video?

The video shows Han-gyeol flying the done and seeing Geon-woo. He goes to confront him and belittles him- frustrated. But in the end, he holds him and shouts “die, die”. Ho-chang is crying at this.

He takes the drone and throws it in the lake. It can mean that it was indeed Han-gyeol who was responsible for Geon-woo’s death. He killed him. But as a parent, Ho-chang can’t see his son going to jail, thus he destroys the evidence.

Talking to Korea JoongAng Daily about bullying, actor Seol Kyung-gu says, “I don’t think this film will change the world, but it was still disappointing to hear that the story did not become old, and that it’s still an ongoing issue. My small hope is that the film will become part of the motive for continuing discussion.”