Starring: Jeon Seong-hwan as Han Soo-seol, Sim I-yeong as Choi Yeong-ae, Jeong In-seo as Han Joon-hee, Jo Jae-wan as Han Min-gyoo, and Choi Jong-ryeol as Oh Sil-jang
Rating: PG-13, subject matter
Running Time: 70 min
Twinkies: 3 1/2 stars
Synopsis: Han Soo-seol is a typical Korean conservative group member who is an editorialist. His daughter-in-law comes to live in his home but she’s a North Korean defector. His son died in an accident. She has a child with her and is pregnant with his grandchild. Can they get along and live together?
Musings: A different perspective on the story of a defector. This story was pretty clear as the father resented the daughter in law, not only because of her circumstances of being a North Korean defector but also from what he felt was a corruption of his son, a missionary who had, at one time to be married to another woman but fell in love with Yeong-ae instead.
What was great was the development of the relationship between Joon-hee, the son’s adopted daughter who refused to speak to her mother but made the grandfather promise that this would remain a secret between them. Even with the death of her entire family in North Korea and the abuse she suffered from her slightly depressed mother, she was a very happy child and showed her happiness especially to her grandfather who is at first indifferent but shows little changes by finally registering her in school.
Now, compare the relationship between Yeong-ae and Soo-seol, the father-in-law. In one word: adversarial. He blames her for the deterioration of father-son relationship as Min-gyoo, the son broke ties to get married and of course his subsequent death.
This story also brought forth how difficult it is to be a defector in South Korea. I was utterly amazed at the scene where the reporters and protesters converged on the house, throwing eggs and other things at a old man and pregnant woman. It seems before Yeong-ae was accused but never substantiated, as a spy. You would think with what people go through to make it to the South that a little more understanding and humanity would be present. I personally don’t understand it. I think of here where we had the great conflict between the North and South during the Civi War.
And it is a sad moment when Yeong-ae wants to abandon the son that she has with the grandfather because of her utter sadness. He finally tells her if she wants to leave, leave after 3 years and only then because “A human being needs a mother”. 3 years later, the grandfather dies. At the end, as Yeong-ae enters his study to finally play the piano she so wanted to before, she begins to cry in earnest. Even though, these two never really showed love to each other, there was a modicum of respect unspoken. The drama ends with one of their last conversations where you see just how far their relationship has come: it ended with a smile.
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