Sunny 써니 / 阳光姐妹淘 (2011) – South Korea

Sunny 써니 / 阳光姐妹淘 (2011) – South Korea

Review by: Andrew Chan FCCA AACTA
Review Date: 11th September 2012
Released on DVD and reviewed as part of KOFFIA 2012

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Back on the success of 2008’s surprise hit comedy “Scandal Makers”, director/writer Kang Hyeong-cheol takes one extra step and go the distance with the audience’s sentimental experiences, heart-felt memories and extremely humane emotions in the crowd winning film, “Sunny”.

“Sunny” is the closing film of KOFFIA 2012 and won the Audience Award for Best Rated Film in the Sydney Leg of the festival.

If there is one sentence to describe the up and coming talented Korean director/writer Kang Hyeong-cheol (“Scandal Makers”) it will be that he knows what his audience wants and he can deliver it sensationally. In just his second feature film, Kang’s films have a combined admission of over 18 million tickets in Korea alone. In his latest film “Sunny”, drawing comparison with Taiwanese box office youth dramatic hit “You are the Apple of My Eye”, Kang deals with similar issues of a group of friends from high school and the reunion that happens many years down the track. The only real difference lies in “Sunny” showing the film from a female perspective. If you have to compare, Kang’s previous work “Scandal Makers”, this film beats it hands down, by being more romantic, more important, more relevant and far more touching.

Ensemble style acting is never easy as often there will be certain individuals that just don’t quite cut it in the chemistry department, however, “Sunny” makes no mistake and deserves wonderful and entertaining acting from all round. The underlying chemistry between the group of high school girls as well as the older group of grown-ups should not be underestimated. Min Hyo-rin as the model girl of the group is especially beautiful, while tomboyish Kang Sora stands out of the pack with the most on-screen presence. Still, the film cannot be done without a particular focus on its main lead character in Im Na-mi, who is perfectly casted in both older and youthful form, Yoo Ho-jeong (older version) and Shim Eun-kyung (teenager). The young Shim Eun-kyung has the sort of unintentional comic awkwardness that made her character extremely likable to follow, while the older Yoo Ho-jeong possesses the sort of motherly style that makes her character extremely realistic.

All in all, “Sunny” is easily Kang Hyeong-cheol’s most accomplished film to date as it engages the audience from start to finish. Kang has the rare quality of knowing exactly what the audience wants to see and his ability to engage the audience is second to none. Although one would somewhat expect the emotional finale, all the things that happens in the movie adds up to the layers of depth that exists in the moment leading up to the fitting final scene. “Sunny” may yet be a commercially successful film, but it takes a director of vision to make the film thoroughly and consistently engaging. There is really a lot to like about “Sunny”, along with its somewhat inspirational theme of the need to have a dream, the true value of friendship and the sense of belonging in life. Director Kang Hyeong-cheol has shot up in my personal list of directors to follow and with “Sunny”, the expectations of his next film has just skyrocketed… (Neo 2012)

I rated it 9/10