Starring: Hwang Jeong Min as Deok Soo, Kim Yoon Jin as Yeong Ja, Oh Dal Su as Dal Goo, Kim Seul Gi as Kkeut Soon, and Yun Ho as Nam Jin
Rating: PG-13, subject matter and some colorful language
Running Time: 126 min
Twinkies: 4 1/2 stars
Synopsis: Story that depicts the lives of people who go through the difficult times after the Korean War to the present day. The movie will portray that phase of modern Korean history through the character named Deok Soo who lives and works in the thick of Busan’s Gukje Market, taking care of his family as he fills in for his father, separated due to the Korean War. Yeong Ja was Deok Soo’s first love and they eventually got married. Deok Soo and his wife struggle after the war, alongside his lifelong friend, Dal Goo.
Musings: I had wanted to do this movie during the month of June (Father’s Day here in the U.S.) but it wasn’t available with English subtitles yet. So, I was very happy to finally find it and review it here for you. Even from the first scene when families are split with the great exodus from the north during the ending moments of the Korean War, it illicit tears from your eyes.The movie begins with Deok Soo’s family coming to Busan in the early days as refugees and then goes on to him and his best friend, Dal Goo being hired to do mining in West Germany.
When Deok Soo met his Yeong Ja, it was nearly love at first sight. As a nurse in training, the movie was very explicit in even showing us what it was like for her. The mine explosion was so realistic whereby Deok Soo refused to leave his friend behind. Even at this tense moment, when Dal Goo tells his friend that if he abandons him, he’ll haunt him until he dies makes you smile. Yeong Ja begging the German miner bosses to save the trapped men was enough to get all the Korean men into action; again, a very good scene. Add to that, Deok Soo thinking back to his father and missing sister moments before the Korean miners break through. Again, a tearful moment!! Determined to save their own!!
Three months later and Deok Soo has returned, up walks Yeong Ja with her bags. She gets a welcome and is offered a drink which she refuses; we will let you guess why. It was a rather cutie scene followed by a flashback to the night before he left West Germany; how fast he forgets. The lovers meet again and then we have a fast wedding!
The story continues on as some Koreans enter into Vietnam during wartime in the early 70s. We see Deok Soo, continuing his support for his family as the eldest. We are sure that his father’s last words are resonating through his mind. There is this scene where this little boy is warning Deok Soo about an imminent bombing that is about to happen after he shows him kindness. Again, another stark and compelling scene for us to see. If that isn’t enough, the scene where they are trying to make their way back home through the jungles of Vietnam to be saved by Korean Marines! Pretty intense moments! I felt like it was a “pay it forward” scene. As the Americans saved 14,000 Koreans from the north, this small boat of Korean soldiers saved a village of Vietnamese. But Dal Go got his bride. Cute when the newspaper touted it as the first Korean-Vienamese wedding.
The movie even mentions a new KBS program called “Does Anyone Know This Person”; a way for people to reconnect with family. It is from the flash back that you realize why Deok Soo is pretty adamant in not changing the name of the store. The next scene shows you thousands of people that are trying to find their families. It is really heartbreaking as you watch the people on the street as they cry and watch the show whereby people are reconnecting with their displaced family. Really sad to watch. It is really Deok Soo’s hope that he can find his father or sister once again!
I can go on and on talking about this movie. The acting was simply phenomenal! When he found his sister, Maksoon, you’ll need a box of tissues to get through the scene. Seriously! It was a moment to remember and also a great piece of acting! Hwang Jeong Min is just sensational!! There are so many family moments as this movie is a great testament to family and love. I believe this is a great movie to watch and definitely shows the pure love of family and a son’s commitment to fulfill his father’s last wish! The poster says “Can One Promise Shape A Lifetime?” Yes…it can!
Trailer is available on on YouTube Website only. The movie is available on various streaming websites. Also available on Netflix if you are a subscriber.
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