Friday, January 24, 2014

Miracle in Cell No. 7 (7번방의 선물)

Some time back I had the opportunity to watch Miracle in Cell No. 7 (thanks to Hangeul Korean Language School's movie night - they should have more of such nights!). There were even Korean snacks! More about that soon!

So if you are interested in learning Korean or just want to join such a movie night, do check out Hangeul Korean Language School's website and/or like their Facebook Page for the latest promotions and updates!

Anyways if you haven't heard about this heart-warming movie, here are the movie details from Wikipedia:

What it is about:

Miracle in Cell No. 7 (Hangul: 7번방의 선물; a.k.a "A Gift from Room 7") is a 2013 South Korean film starring Ryu Seung-ryong and Park Shin-hye. The film is a heartwarming comedy and family melodrama about a mentally challenged man wrongfully imprisoned for murder who builds friendships with the hardened criminals in his cell, and they help him see his daughter again by breaking her in.

The film's early working title was December 23 (Hangul: 12월 23일).


Lee Yong-gu is a mentally challenged man with the intelligence of a 6-year-old, which is actually the age of his own daughter Ye-sung who is much smarter than her peers. The two of them lead a happy life while Yong-gu makes a living by working as a parking attendant at a local supermarket. But one day, when the police commissioner's young daughter dies in a strange accident, Yong-gu is the one who happens to find her. He is falsely accused and sentenced to death for abduction, sexual assault, and murder of a minor. 

Ye-sung is sent to a childcare institution and Yong-gu gets imprisoned and assigned to Cell No. 7, the harshest cell in a maximum security prison. At first, the other inmates in the cell keep their guard against Yong-gu, then realize that there's something not quite right with him. Not understanding his own dire situation, Yong-gu only worries about his daughter. 

One day, he saves his fellow cellmate, an influential figure in the prison, from an attack by his rival. In return for saving his life, Yong-gu is granted a wish: to see his daughter Ye-sung again. The inmates put their heads together to carry out a daring operation and miraculously succeed in sneaking Ye-sung into Cell No. 7 during a religious event. 

While the father and daughter rejoice, the others realize it was relatively easy getting her in, but impossible getting her out. After a while, Ye-sung is detected and sent back, but during the time the inmates as well as the prison guards come to realize that Yong-gu was falsely charged. And they all put their heads together to prepare him for his final trial.

Thoughts (and yes some spoilers... so be forewarned) 

Reading the synopsis I thought that movie would be a lighthearted comedy, but I was so wrong. It was an emotional movie that evoked all of the emotions (be prepared to have a tissue box on hand!):
  • Heartwarming moments at the sweet father-daughter interactions and how they support each other

  • Sadness as Yong-guand his daughter, Ye-sung, lose each other (when he gets wrongfully arrested) and their attempt at trying to find the other even when they had no way

  • Happiness as Yong-gu and and Ye-sung find each other finally midpoint in the movie

  • Laughter at Yong-gu's innocence and the funny mess that his cellmates get into just to help him once they get to know him with Ye-sung in the mix

  • Frustration at the injustice done to Yong-gu just because he happened to be at the wrong place and at the wrong, and taken advantage of because of his lack of intellect. Mostly because of a vengeful police commissioner who just wanted a scapegoat for his young daughter's accidental death. Even when faced with the truth (and evidence) the police commissioner threatened Yong-gu with Ye-sung's life and just wanted to see someone pay for his daughter's death. He was bent on taking a life just because.

  • Sadness when Ye-sung and Yong-gu's cellmates (and new allies along the way) realize that there is no way they can save him and they try to make lasting memories before his day

  • Hope when Yong-gu's cellmates tried to save him and let him escape with Ye-Sung

  • Disappointment when that plan was halted by a piece of rope

  • Grief when Ye-sung and Yong-gu's cellmates (and new allies along the way) see his passing

  • Closure (in a way but not fully) when Ye-sung gets adopted by the prison warden and becomes a lawyer to turn over her father's verdict; it was a success - Yong-gu was vindicated of his guilt and declared innocent (but he is dead so I guess it is more meaningful for the living). Although Ye-sung had her closure, I think there should have been more done: those involved in fabricating the evidence and framed poor Yong-gu (especially that police commissioner) should have also been charged. 

1 comment:

  1. This is a touching movie about father and daughter. Please remember to bring a box of tissue while watching the show.