For the second day of the Korean Film Festival, my E1 classmates watched ‘댄싱퀸 (Dancing Queen)’ but since I’m staying strong for my pocket (though the movie is free, meals and cab going home is not), I decided to skip the second day and went to watch for the third day instead. And since luck was not on our side for the third day, we failed to watch ‘연가시 (Deranged)’ which I’m anticipating the most. Good thing though, I already downloaded it last Friday. Actually, I cheated myself. I pre-downloaded ‘써니 (Sunny)’ just after watching ‘늑대소년 (A Werewolf Boy)‘, so I watched it myself, the day my classmates watched ‘댄싱퀸’.
Besides ‘연가시’, ‘써니’ also got me among all the movies. Of course, if given the chance and time I would also want to watch ‘광해: 왕이 된 남자 (Masquerade)’ but since I have work and I don’t usually go far on weekends, I can’t watch it.
써니 (Sunny) | 2011
Directed by: 강형철 | Cast: 유호정, 심은경, 진희경, 강소라
Running Time: 124 minutes | Release Date: May 4, 2011
‘가장 찬란한 순간, 우리는 하나였다’ | ‘The Sunniest Moment of our Lives’
Why did I watch the movie?
One class day was finished when the Korean Film Festival 2013 poster was posted inside the school. My classmates looked at the poster and they were all talking about ‘Sunny’ so from the moment I heard them buzz about it, I had a slight attraction towards viewing it. Bad thing about myself though is that I don’t usually go to Korean or even K-Pop related events because I find other K-Pop fans too annoying and loud.
I went anyway, because of my E1 classmates. Prior to watching ‘Sunny’, I’ve watched the trailer at least about 10 times? It was not all that, there were no special effects, it’s not really epic-looking, but I was attracted nonetheless. Maybe I’m just fond of watching movies that involve friendships.
Bad thing about it though is that I haven’t had a chance to watch this in a bigger screen. I watched it through my download *which sounds sad*, but I enjoyed the movie anyway.
How did the story started?
Im Na-mi (Yoo Ho-jeong) is a fine lady, living in a good place, with her wonderful husband and a bratty daughter *whom I never liked the whole film*. She’s living her life almost as if it’s perfect, but then, her mother’s sick. She asked her husband to come visit her together, but her husband had her buy handbags for themselves instead. She visited the hospital by herself with ‘Chanel’ bags that she bought for her mom and for herself when after visiting, she stumbled upon a room with her old classmate’s name, Ha Chun-hwa. Memories from her high school came back, and seeing high school girls through her car or while she’s having breakfast alone through the window made her nostalgic about the past. She then decided to revisit her high school and saw all uniformed girls walking in one direction. One student bumped her and said her apologies, and then there’s another student who was wearing something bright bumped but was not as polite as the other one. Then the students suddenly turned from uniformed girls to bright-colored girls, and we see Im Na-mi also changing to her high school state as a younger Na-mi (Shim Eun-kyung).
How the story went?
Im Na-mi from Jeolla-do was *possibly* a transfer student, having a strong accent, the girls from the school made fun of her. Just after class, she was being bullied by two girls when one stronger-looking girl threw bags at them and immediately went away. That girl was Chun-hwa (Kang So-ra) who introduced Na-mi to her group of friends. Jang-mi, a fat girl obsessed about having two eyelids, Jin-hee who swears a lot, Geum-ok, a bright student with a large stick (she hits everyone getting in her way, lol). Then there’s Bok-hee, the self-proclaimed next Miss Korea, and finally Su-ji, the most quiet and arguably the prettiest, she does not seem to like Na-mi.
They have a rival group called ‘소녀시대’ which was funny, and since Na-mi was the new member of their group, she then went and acted like she’s being possessed, making their rival group run away from scare. Na-mi was then accepted to their group and after deciding to name themselves ‘Wonder Girls’ or ‘Crazy Bitches’ and none of them seemed to sound cool, they called a radio DJ to ask for a group name. They then settled on ‘Sunny’ as how the radio DJ suggested it.
Na-mi in her present self revisited her mom and going back to the hospital decided on finding the other ‘Sunny’ girls as it was confirmed that the name on the hospital room was her classmate, Chun-hwa (Jin Hee-kyung) and it was her last request to see them everyone one last time before she dies. In the journey, Na-mi found Jang-mi, a struggling life insurance sales agent who helped her hire a detective to find the other members of Sunny. In the process, finding Jin-hee, the queen of swear words who changed into a pretentious fine woman with a wealthy husband who cheats. Geum-ok the bright student with a stick turned to be an unemployed slave-like daughter-in-law living in a cramped apartment, taking care of a baby. Bok-hee, then future Miss Korea, became a prostitute after her mom’s beauty salon was bankrupt, and not being able to live with her daughter. Su-ji was not found so they posted a newspaper ad instead.
They found themselves together doing the things they have done during their high school days. Na-mi sketched Chun-hwa since she was a good artist way back. As much as they’ve fought before with their rival group, they also had payback time with the high school girls bullying Na-mi’s daughter. Brandishing designer bags and killer heels, high-school hairstyle and colorful backpacks, they fought the girls resulting to them getting apprehended and the high school girls getting hospitalized (which I personally think is one of the highlights of the film). They end up dancing their old choreography for Boney M’s ‘Sunny’ inside the police van.
Flashing back, Su-ji’s disdain with Na-mi resulted in minor fights within the group, but then, Korean loves to drink and they both settled it through drinking soju and street foods. On another day, Na-mi saw Chun-hwa rolling crazy in pain during one of her visits. It was heartbreaking. That same night Chun-hwa gave her a CD with their old high school video in which she saw every Sunny’s dream, giving her the idea that not everyone can reach their own stars, including hers, but still be happy anyways.
How the story ended?
It was when Chun-hwa got expelled from school because of a commotion, that their vows together has been revealed. Chun-hwa said that it would not be the end of Sunny. They will still dance together. They will meet again, punish someone if a member’s life got successful but ignores them, help back up a member who fell down, and vowed to never leave each other together forever.
Eventually, Chun-hwa died from terminal cancer, about two months when Na-mi first saw her. Living life alone, she only had Sunny as her family staying for her funeral which was delayed a day longer just for them. Almost all of them came including Geum-ok and Bok-hee who weren’t there so much because of their life problems. Before they were about to greet Chun-hwa their final goodbye, her lawyer came to execute her will for all the members.
Na-mi became the next leader of Sunny. Chun-hwa bought life insurances from Jang-Mi, giving her a chance to be the sales queen of the month, and having all of the members as beneficiaries. Jin-hee became the vice leader and that was it. When asked if she was disappointed, Chun-hwa left a line saying ‘Bitch! You’re rich!’ As for Geum-ok, she will start as an intern at Chun-hwa’s small publishing company, will be regular after 6 months, and if sales got high for two years, she’ll be the executive manager, and if she fails, ‘I’ll kill you if you screw up.’ And finally for Bok-hee, she left an apartment for her and her daughter. All her living expenses will be paid in full by the company’s fund, even giving her the first floor for her to open up a business after sobering up.
Finally, they had to dance it like how it’s done in the old days, their choreography to Boney M’s ‘Sunny’, in the funeral. Then finally, Su-ji arrived.
The movie was all warm and fuzzy feeling, that tackles about dreams, failure, friendship and death. I’ve never watched death as beautiful as portrayed in this movie. Though I watched the movie with people around me that were not so interested, I didn’t care. I watched by myself and just had my emotions inside myself. In a simpler sense, it tells about the realities in life, that not everyone can be a superhero *even the best fall down sometimes*, not everyone can be Miss Korea, not everyone stays as who they were, but in the end, it’s all about them, how they can be the protagonists of their own lives, and how years of living can change them but it would still be their same self in the end. That even if you’re already dying, it’s never too late to help someone, and even go back from who you were supposed to be, and touch peoples lives for the last time.
I thought the movie was just as shallow as a simple chick-flick movie that I’ve watched before. The story was not just shallow and non-sensical as others, but it really had a deeply meaningful, warm and sunny story line. The actresses were brilliant. Im Na-mi in her young and present self portrayed the role ever so carefully and wonderfully, and of course, Ha Chun-hwa in her young self as Kang Sora, and her present self showcased very excellent and realistic acting. The music used for the film were also not just appropriate, but it balanced the entirety of the film, bridging the gap from Korea to US, and 1980’s era to present. With the usage of Richard Sanderson’s ‘Reality’ during scenes including Na-mi and her high school crush, it really formed a stronger foundation between the viewer, the story, and the whole experience by itself. And of course it wouldn’t be more perfect without Boney M’s ‘Sunny’, which may be the basis why the film had its name or why their group was called through it.
I really enjoyed the movie. As much as I love ‘The Werewolf Boy’, I think this is more of a movie that I will be able to watch for another more time. I would love to watch ‘The Werewolf Boy’ again but I don’t wanna cry again, just yet. I definitely recommend everyone to watch this as this has been one of the best Korean films you might not regret watching ever in your whole life.