Scene from film "Sunny" [CJ Entertainment]
Middle-aged woman Nami (Yoo Ho-jung), who has been living life as a nameless presence such as 'mom' or 'wife,' runs into Choon-hwa (Jin Hee-kyung), her friend from high school, at a hospital. Choon-hwa, battling cancer, wishes for her group of friends 'Sunny' from those days, to get back together again. Choon-hwa's appearance instills life into Nami's dull days and she starts to look for their friends through the help of a private detective. These friends who used to talk of dreams and dance to disco tunes in a worn video, are now living in different ways and have different stories.
Anticipation Quotient: 6 (out of 10)
The female version of "Friend" set in Seoul
Scenes from film "Sunny" [CJ Entertainment]
"Sunny" has a clear goal and direction. The middle-aged women know who they are looking for when they launch their journey to find their friends from high school. And various elements which are key to going back to the '80s are handed to the viewers at the right moments so that even someone who is new to the scene will not get lost. Shim Eun-kyung, who has matured enough to superbly lead an entire film, Min Hyo-rin who is pretty enough to seem as if she has popped out of a magazine, and Kang So-ra, who shows stable acting in playing the role of Choon-hwa, are impressive. And the casting of cameos, who are positioned at the right places at the right time, is excellent as well.
Except for its somewhat boring start, there is no question that "Sunny" is a movie one can cry and laugh heartily over throughout its running time. Director Kang Hyung-chul of film "Speed Scandal" which drew in 8.3 million viewers, has once again so skillfully pinned down the public's interests and sentiment, and his confidence in doing so can be seen everywhere in his movie. But such confidence can also lead to excessive greed. Elements such as Nami's husband, who was once a labor agitator but now does unrelated business, or the argument him and his son have regarding labor movements over a meal at home, have been added in flimsily. And the scene where demonstrators, 'Sunny,' and 'Girls' Generation' all fight in the middle of Jongro district in downtown Seoul, is not enough to dilute the intensity of what happened in history and rather just ends as a ridiculous incident.
Then things worsen to the point that the girls' high school days become beautified or legendized as if something from a comic book and 25 years later, one of the friends has fallen low to become the hostess of a bar instead of achieving her dream to become Miss Korea. That is why their past is something they are blindly happy over and their reality cannot find relief without a dramatic twist. So the aftertaste "Sunny" leaves is not refreshing. Particularly so when they are compensated for such memories through the 'material blessing' or 'economic rescue' of the friends who are 'relatively well off.' It becomes hard not to wonder what it truly was that they were looking for.
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