Welcome to our very first Korean movie review! The layout of this review will be different from my Korean drama review posts. It’ll be less of a formal review as you shall see soon. Hope you guys enjoy! [SOME SPOILERS MAY BE INCLUDED]
Discovering & Starting the Movie
It was initially Wannabefob that “discovered” this movie. On a plane ride back to the states, she saw the movie trailer and decided that upon arriving home, she should watch it.
It took forever to find this movie online with English subtitles. Honestly, I didn’t want to see this movie at all even though the trailer looked very appealing and touching. I’m not really the type of person that enjoys watching sad movies or dramas – in fact, I normally try to stay away from them. Wannabefob continually reminded me, saying, “We have to watch the movie!” but we just never got to it, until recently.
The hardest part was actually finding this movie online with English subtitles. We couldn’t find it anywhere! I finally found it on Dramacrazy, but the links didn’t work. Luckily, there was another source of videos, but those took forever to load. After loading the video for an hour or so, we were only able to see 20 minutes of the 2 hour movie. So then we just gave up.
After a few months or so, I was bored and began scouring for movies to watch. Harmony came to mind. I decided to give it another try, but only if I could find it streaming somewhere other than Dramacrazy, and tada! I found it on Youtube..although it was in 23 parts which is a ridiculous number of parts for a movie, but hey, it was in pretty good quality AND had English subs! Plus, not a part was missing.
So now to the stuff that actually pertains to this movie. If I were to describe this movie in my words, I’d say that it was about a group of females that are in jail for various crimes that they committed in the past. One woman, Hong Jeong Hye, has a child, but she has to give him away one day. In order to go outside of the jail with her little boy for one day before she gives him up, she decides to form a choir group with her fellow inmates. At first, everyone thinks that she’s gone crazy and nobody believes that a choir group will even be formed successfully, but with some training, the inmates are able to sing beautiful songs together and they begin to change for the better.
Just for some clarification, at the time of her imprisonment, Hong Jeong Hye was pregnant, and the law states that those in her situation must give up their baby for adoption when the baby reaches 18 months, or leave it in the care of a relative or friend. As the time when she will have to give up her baby is drawing closer, Hong Jeong Hye will also be rewarded with a day out with her son if the choir succeeds.
It sounds cliche, but I feel that there aren’t many movies, let alone Korean ones, that are like this.
This movie has so many important themes in it. This movie isn’t about love between a man and woman as most dramas and movies are, it’s not about someone who tragically gets cancer in their life, it’s not about anything else in between.
This movie talks about something real. It may not necessarily be realistic, but it’s real. Things like this happen in real life. We may not be experiencing it firsthand, but I think that many of us are aware of this to an extent. People get thrown into jail for crimes they have done despite the fact that the reason for their crimes is justified. I’m not saying that everyone who commits a crime has a justifiable reason for it, but some do.
Love? There’s love in this. Love between mother and child, between families that are torn apart because of one crime. There’s also friendship- friendship between inmates as they get to know each other over time. Even if we haven’t experienced love from a lover, we’ve definitely experienced it from our family members or relatives in some way (even though at times it may be hard to remember). If not, we must’ve experienced the comfort of friendship from peers that we meet in school, work, or somewhere in our lives.
There are as many good themes as there are bad. The movie touches on some darker themes, so the balance between good and bad is established well. It shows the evil side of mankind, the common faults that we all make as humans. One of these is assumptions that we make based on looking at someone for a few seconds. Judging people based on their appearance or a first impression is, to me, one of the greatest flaws of humanity.
I couldn’t stop thinking about this movie after watching it. I just kept raving on and on about it..which is probably doing right now. I never cry when watching dramas or movies, no matter how sad they may be. I just don’t have that emotional connection. But this movie was the first (and probably the only) that brought me the closest to tears. This movie evokes so many emotions – it’s heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time.
Honestly, I don’t see any flaws with this movie. I’ve seen this movie twice so far and the second time around it was just as touching.
I agree with everything that Wannabefob states in the following paragraph. She sums up the movie nicely, so I’ll just leave what she wrote in this post.
This was the most genuine movie I’ve ever seen. I never cried while watching a drama or a movie because the sad parts just seem so melodramatic, unrealistic, and fake. What separated Harmony from these other sad dramas or movies is the fact that I felt the ability to relate to this drama, not in the sense that I have been through the things that happen in this drama, but because it portrays all of the characters as real people who are condemned because of one act they committed in the heat of the moment.
One of the scenes that appealed to me was when Hong Jeong Hye had to go to the hospital because Min Woo was sick. I felt angry and sad at how she was treated, just from others’ impressions of her, based on the sole fact that she was an inmate. Everyone stared at her with cautious eyes, and even the doctor said to Min Woo, Why are you crying? You’re not the criminal.
Watching that scene, I was reminded that that’s how people are – that’s how I am. When I read in the news that someone is sentenced to jail, I immediately think they’re a bad person, regardless of the cause or crime. They’re a criminal – a dirty and ruthless person who might’ve even been a serial killer.
Harmony reminded me of how shallow first impressions are – how judgmental we as humans are. Everyone makes mistakes; what determines whether or not we just get a spanking from our parents or are given the death sentence is the intensity of those mistakes. We often see people with the stereotypes that we have encountered before; but still, that cannot justify our wrong in judging those who haven’t had a chance to prove their full worth.
Life is unfair. Whether or not we accept that fact is a choice. The nicest person alive can be sentenced to death; the most despicable person alive can live in luxury and comfort.
Now it’s my turn to give more of my two cents on this movie. For me, this movie is so real (as I already mentioned in the Themes section) and it focuses on a few people and their stories instead of just one. We see the hardships and difficulties that people go through precisely for love and acceptance from their families.
Also, like Wannabefob already discussed, this movie opens your eyes. It shows you that you have to think of one’s difficulties and the reasons behind their actions before judging. Too often, we do the opposite.
Words to describe this movie?
Sincere. Inspiring. More than meets the eye. Heartfelt. Real. Unpredictable. Eye-opening.
Rating (subjective first, objective second; out of a scale of 10): (10/10)
Yes, it was that good. So watch it! I hope this post convinced you (: