Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Movie Review: Sunny (2011)

If Bleak Night talks mostly about the turbulence of friendship, then Sunny touches on the joys of it. Sunny, the group of seven unlikely, but perfectly matched group of girls come together and shows us the real meaning of friendship.

Im Na-mi (is a wife and mother, busily taking care of her family before herself. One day she decides to see her mother who is in the hospital after apparently injuring her arm. As she was on her way home, she spotted a name in front of a room. Ha Chun-hwa. The name sounded quite familiar to her. It was the same Ha Chun-hwa that she knew 25 years ago in high school. With Chun-hwa and five other girls, they formed the group Sunny, the queens of their high school. Nami met them during her first day of school in Seoul where she transferred from the south, complete with her country accent which easily became the target of teasing from her classmates. She was saved by Chun-hwa and soon completed the seven. Back in the present, Nami finds the leader bed-ridden and diagnosed with cancer with only two months to live. Along with Jang-mi, who becomes an unsuccessful insurance salesperson, they find the other members of Sunny before Chun-hwa takes her leave.

It was such a delight watching this movie after watching darker works for so long. Not even considering the actual movie quality, I was instantly in love with the colors. It's so bright and fun, full of the energy of youth. Especially in the flashback version. The girls were all wearing brightly colored clothes and a rainbow of colors of Nike bags. They wore their hair in the most odd but (hopefully) at-the-time fashionable hair and accessories. It screamed fun, and I was intrigued.

Thankfully, this movie delivered. It's actually only the sophomore attempt of director Kang Hyung-chul, whose debut project was the super popular and very hilarious Speedy Scandal. Looking back at how Sunny became the running hit of the year (only second after Bow: the Ultimate Weapon), it seems like this man has the touch of gold and an ear to great comedy. This movie is definitely just as laugh out loud as his first, but a bit more refined and touched the heart. The way this parodies the state of the people in its respective time is just beyond awesome. Example, during the 1970s, South Korea went through quite the change where the people started to voice their concerns over the dictatorial leadership. During this time, South Korea was  filled with people movement lead by the students. Most movies will show the hardship the students are going through by fighting against the army. Instead, this movie blended that factor with the cat fight among the top girl gangs of the city. The director blended those two events so effortlessly, I was concerned for the girls safety! Alas, we got a lot of laughs during this scene and it's probably one of the most epic scene in the whole movie.

Another scene that I love? The scene where the hospital patients were watching an apparently very exaggerated but strangely accurate depiction of the typical Korean drama scene. In the drama scene, there is a girl and a boy. Suddenly the boy said to the girl "Apparently we're siblings." The whole room went wild! And so did I. It was so genius, I don't even know what.

One thing that I loved about this movie, besides the hilarious story and fabulously colorful outfits, is the perfect casting. When a project casts a past and present version, sometimes they don't factor how familiar the two people look like. But in this movie, almost all of the girls were very similar to their adult version. It was just perfect! I didn't know how they did it. Except probably Jin-hee, who apparently went through plastic surgery to get her adult version face. And Su-ji, but probably because Min Hyo-rin has such a unique face, it's difficult to find an older version that looks just like her. Besides those two, everyone was spot on. I was super happy about that.

Speaking about the cast, I thought this cast was very good. I want to give a shout out to Shim Eun-kyung and Kang So-ra who was so fabulous in this movie. Shim, who plays the young Nami, was superb playing the awkward and sometimes a little weird girl from Jeolla-do. As for Kang, who plays the young Chun-hwa, she was strong without overly demanding and shows a lot of charisma. As for the adults, there's no particular MVPs but they were really great overall and provided great laughs and tears.

Despite the highly comedic story and equally high sales, this movie has its faults too. One thing that confuses me the most is the reason why Sunny disbanded. Maybe because the director didn't want to dwell on the negatives, it leaves a gaping hole for the story. Actually, now that I think about it, the director never really stays on the bad scenes long enough for us to comprehend. I feel like this movie refuses to talk about the bad and forces on with the good. It's not a terrible thing, but I wish there was more to it than what was shown. This an equal problem to the director's first movie. Actually this is a problem to many fluffy comedies. Maybe because I've been watching one too many depressing movies? Who knows.

But seriously, even without that, this movie was superb. It left me with tingly, warm feelings. Considering that I just left high school a few years ago, perhaps the feeling of nostalgia isn't as strong. But even then, this movie is really great and definitely a recommended work. Definitely my definition of laugh-out-loud yet sentimental piece of work.

Final verdict: 7.5/10

1 comment:

  1. Just wanted to comment that they disbanded because, they got expelled from school after the su-ji scar incident. That was a critical juncture in the plot. They just went different ways.