Starring: Im Shi Wan as Han Sang Ryeol, Lee Hee Joon as Kal Go Ri, Go Ah Sung as Park Joo Mi, Lee Joon Hyuk as Superior Jo, Lee Re as Soon Yi, and Tang Jun Sang as Choon Shik
Rating: PG-13, some violence
Running Time: 123 min
Twinkies: 3 1/2 stars
Synopsis: Second Lieutenant Han Sang-Yeol leads his platoon during the Korean War in the early 1950s. He carries emotional scars and pain within. So when he meets some children from a choir, who have lost everything in the war, Sang-Yeol is deeply moved and tries to protect to them.
Musings: Good English subs can make or break the enjoyment of a movie. While this movie was filled with many moments of clarity that really didn’t need subs, there were moments that you weren’t sure what they were saying or what language this was translated from. The good things about A Melody to Remember was definitely the singing by the children. Sadly, there weren’t enough moments in the movie but the sounds of the voices of children affected by a devastating war definitely brings the tears to your eyes. The story is based on the actual formation of a children’s band/choir that consisted of war orphans from the Korean War. The movie does starts out by a glaring reminder of the war as LT Han Sang Ryeol is in the mist of a battle. The battle scene is very stark in the beginning; there is no doubt of the loss of life as you watch; so be prepared.
The movie also gives you a glimpse in how some of the children became orphans. The two lead children, Soon Yi and Choon Shik are unfortunate victims of their village. Their father, for safety because of the location of the village made sure his children were prepared for both South and North aggressors. As you will see, that is a big problem for a young child to know what is what and this sadly leads to their father’s death. It also shows you that the affect it has on the children as they live in a war-torn region, trying to survive through stealing, selling, and working.
Acting by the leads which consisted of both the adult and children actors was decent. Im Shi Wan was definitely a lead as well as Lee Hee Joon, the work boss that leads the orphan children into stealing and selling. Female presence of Go Ah Sung, though secondary (my opinion) was there and her scenes are few but the true focus is on the children as they maneuver through to the end of the war. The final scene is of the children’s choir giving concerts and their now civilian choir director remains Han Sang Ryeol.
Not sure I’d classify this as a “feel good” movie; but definitely represents a little bit of history and look into the life of a child during war-torn Korea. Worth watching? Maybe. It could have been best served shortened as well as more focus on the children and their singing. Why? Because, this is truly what saved some of them from the streets and the dangers out there.
Trailer is available on on YouTube Website only. The movie is available on various streaming websites. But beware. Some may have sub-standard English subs!
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