I heard a lot of good reviews about this film: Tear jerker, heart warming and heartfelt family story. Often tagged as the Korean version and inspired by the Hollywood movies “I am Sam”, “Green Mile” and “Life is beautiful”.
Due to my busy schedule, I wasn’t able to download or watch this film not until my younger brother told me so. I asked him if he cried and he answered “of course!” So, I decided to watch it yesterday, timely for Father’s Day.
The film is set in the present day and flashback 1997. The story is about a mentally challenged man, Lee Yong-gu, and his smart and beautiful 6-year old daughter, Ye-sung. Ye-sung loves Sailor Moon and wants to have a merchandise backpack. Unfortunately, the bag that they have been eyeing for quite some time was bought by another girl.
Yong-gu, working as a parking attendant at a local supermarket, saw the girl who bought the backpack. The little lass told him that she knows another store that sells Sailor Moon backpack, so Yong-gu followed the girl.
Unfortunately, when Yong-gu saw the girl, she was already laying on the ground unconscious so he immediately gave her a CPR. A woman saw her and thought he was molesting the girl and called the police. Eventually, the girl died and unfortunately, she was the police commissioner’s daughter. Yong-gu was forced to give a false confession since he doesn’t understand his situation.
He was then assigned to cell no. 7 with various kinds of criminals. They became not only friends, but also a family. They managed to get Ye-sung inside the cell as per Yong-gu’s request.
But it didn’t last because Chief Jang caught them hiding little Ye-Sung. Chief Jang assumes that Yong-go was guilty of charge, he was mad at him for he also lost his own son, but something happened that changed his mind.
There was a fire inside the prison and Chief Jang was trapped inside, fortunately, Yong-gu managed to save him. Chief Jang realized that Yong-gu was a kind man not capable of hurting anyone so he then became Yong-gu’s ally. Chief Jang tried to find out the truth and he also took care of little Ye-sung.
Yong-gu on the other hand, was threatened by the police officer to plea guilty or else, he will harm Ye-sung. Scared Yong-gu plead guilty to save his daughter. He was sentenced to death.
Yong-gu’s cellmates, without his knowledge , wanted him to escape with her daughter before his scheduled death so they made a hot air balloon that will carry and fly them outside the prison wall. Unfortunately, it was snagged on a barbed wire therefore their mission failed.
December 23, Ye-sung’s birthday, also his father’s last day as he was sentenced to death. They were able to celebrate her birthday with father’s cellmates, little did she know it was her last birthday with his beloved father. Still unaware of the situation, little Ye-sung bid farewell like the usual, looking forward to her next visit to his father. Yong-gu, already walking towards his painful end, then realized
his fate and reality. Crying and shouting, he was asking for forgiveness and freedom, but it’s too late.
After several years, Ye-Sung grew up to be a fine lady and became a lawyer. She wanted to clear his father’s name and gave him the justice he deserves. Ending, she finally got what she wanted, but still grieving her father’s loss.
So here’s my rating for the Casts’ acting/portrayal/overall performance:
Ryu Seung-ryong as Lee Yong-gu: 10/10. He is very effective and convincing I almost believed he is mentally challenged in real life.
Kal So-won as Ye-Sung (Child): 10/10. She is such a cutie. The little lass can really act. Drama or comedy, name it, she can do it.
Park Shin-hye as Ye-Sung (Adult): 9/10. Like Kal So-won, Shin-hye is a versatile actress. She really captured my heart when she was defending Yong-gu’s character. Her emotions are so high. I love her for that!
Jung Jin-young as Jang Min-hwan: 7/10.His acting was plain and dull.
Oh Dal-su, Kim Ki-cheon,Kim Jung-tae, Kim Ki-cheon, Park Won-sang as Criminals/Cellmates: 10/10. They were all equally scary yet funny. They proved that even criminals has their good side.
The movie showcased a father-daughter’s unconditional love for each other. It is a mix of comedy and sensitive, family melodrama, a very rare combination. Surprisingly, they pulled it off, making it the third highest grossing Korean film of all time and also won several awards. I bet everyone will shed a lot of tears while watching this movie. I rate this a 9/10. A must see movie, perfect for today’s occasion.
Here is the trailer. Tell me your thoughts 🙂