Korean entertainment, with its breathtaking romance and emotional acting, has an addicting appeal. It is filled with happy endings, the triumph of good over evil, and true love. However, not all movies give viewers the fairy tale ending they might be expecting. In a world where we all experience heartbreak, there is something bittersweet about these movies that puts them a little bit closer to their viewers’ hearts.
Here are a few movies that choose to focus on the beauty of living and capture the humanity of their characters in every second. All of these films showcase spectacular idol-turned-actors, who know how to capture the beauty and tragedies of being human.
Warning: contains minor spoilers below.
1. “My Annoying Brother”
Doo Sik (Jo Jung Suk) is a shameless trickster that has been imprisoned for fraud. His little brother Doo Young (EXO’s D.O.) is a national judo athlete with a promising future. Their lives take a sudden turn when Doo Young loses his sight during a judo match, and Jo Jung Suk is allowed out of prison to look after his little sibling. Their parents had passed away in a tragic accident while the younger was still in high school, making him independent and resentful of his older brother. Doo Sik is relieved to finally be out of bars, but finds himself clashing with his blind brother at every turn. The two of them eventually realize they might be a better pair than they expected in this heartwarming comedy about the importance of family.
2. “Pure Love”
A radio DJ receives a letter from his first love and finds himself remembering his youth of twenty-three years previously.
Beom Sil (EXO’s D.O.) is a shy and caring friend of Soo Ok (Kim So Hyun). When five friends spend the summer together, he finds himself actually crushing on the bright and ambitious Soo Ok. Even though she has a disability that hinders the use of one of her legs, she is always dreaming of the future. Beom Sil falls in love with her and is always ready to lend her a helping hand. When Soo Ok hears about an operation that could heal her leg, she refuses to give up, even when it comes to light the operation will not work. They experience the pains of first love and the clutches of tragedy in this heartrending tale.
3. “Their Distance”
When Leon (Choi Min Ki) is involved in an accident that injures a passerby, he locks his heart away out of guilt. He works every day as an apprentice shoemaker, only to go home all alone at night. Akiko Kokaze (Fumiko Aoyagi) also works at the same shoe shop and admires him from afar. One fateful day, Leon runs into a mysterious woman named Sona (Hanae Kan) and can’t stop thinking about her. Kokaze also experiences the unexpected when she receives a love confession from a customer named Sang Soo (Hwang Min Hyun). Will anyone get their happily ever after, or will everyone suffer from unreturned affections while Leon continues to sentence himself to solitude?
“Their Distance,” which features the members of NU’EST, is an artistic Japanese film about love at first sight as well as the troubles of unrequited love. This movie’s beautiful and surprising resolution can be considered both bittersweet and happy!
A pair of siblings find themselves in danger when their spy father is betrayed by his nation. Myung Hoon (T.O.P) is willing to do anything to get himself and his little sister out of a North Korean labor camp. He is offered the opportunity to become a spy, like his father was, to infiltrate South Korea. He readily takes the position because he has been promised the freedom of Hye In (Kim Yoo Jung) if he succeeds. His mission becomes ridiculously complicated, and he slowly begins to find out the secret of how his late father was double-crossed. Myung Hoon realizes that North Korea is also going to turn on him and his sister. This leaves him with only a short amount of time to make sure Hye In is safe. “Commitment” is a vivid portrayal of family love and the strength to be found in the desire to survive.
5. “Glory Day”
Yong Bi (Ji Soo), Ji Gong (Ryu Jun Yeol), Doo Man (Kim Hee Chan), and Sang Woo (EXO’s Suho) are four friends on the brink of adulthood. Excited about their newfound adulthood independence, they go on a trip before one of them enrolls in the military. This indie film manages to catch the most juvenile moments of teenagers who see the world through the end of their adolescence. The instances of youth at its strongest, when it feels like it can rule the world, catch the viewers at every turn. Sadly, the four boys encounter a life-changing event when they save a woman from being assaulted by her drunk husband. The drunkard is accidentally killed, and the grieving wife quickly blames them for his death. If only they had known how fate would brutally repay their heroic deed!
In “Glory Day,” we had a movie about four teens that suffered for doing the right thing. Now we have a movie that is about four young adults who receive a punishment that is too severe for their actions.
Jin Il (SHINee’s Choi Minho) and Ga Young (Jung Da Eun) are teen runaways that live on the streets with two other friends that are also on their own. The group of friends sometimes resort to stealing if their part-time jobs are not enough to cover their living experiences. When they attempt to outsmart Hyung Suk (Ma Dong Seok), he ends up being a terrifying adversary and refuses to give up chasing them. Another obstacle tracks down the ragtag band in the form of a slightly psychotic figure from their past. With two adamant people pursuing them, it is only a matter of time until the four of them find their paths taking a turn for the worse.
Hey Soompiers, which memorable movie has you coming back for more? Let us know in the comments!
t0ky0nights is a K-pop enthusiast whose interests include many forms of Japanese, Chinese, and Korean entertainment. She can be found dancing or writing articles, and lyrics most of the time. Check out her monochrome Instagram account here.