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Happy End More at IMDbPro »Haepi-endeu (original title)

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9 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

Isn't it ironic?

9/10
Author: emiel_ from Bxl, Belgium
7 July 2000

Yes it is.

He has lost his job and takes care of the household and the baby. She is a director at an English language school and has an affair with her first lover. It's a linear story with an inevitable ending, told with eye for detail and with humour. Although the story and setting are not new, it has a surprising ending, which is emphasized by the words 'happy end'.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Bora,Kim and Min-ki

10/10
Author: Desertman84 from United States
2 December 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Happy End is a South Korean film about a woman who's having an affair while her husband is unemployed.It stars Choi Min-sik, Jeon Do-yeon and Ju Jin-mo.It was written and directed by Jung Ji-woo.

In the movie,Bora is a successful career woman who becomes involved with her destructive ex-lover, Kim. Bora's home life is a snore: she's mother to an infant child and her husband, Seo has lost his job, leaving Bora as the family's sole breadwinner. The jobless Seo hasn't been just wandering around parks and reading romance novels as first thought.One day, Min-ki accidentally stumbles upon a key, that belongs to his wife, and is unfamiliar that realizes that something is going on, and he's collecting evidence.

Happy End centers namely Bora,Kim and Min-ki.They are imperfect people but not despicable human beings. They are all very much human in every way that matters. As a result of all of these humanly needs and wants, Bora is unable to stop going back to Kim even though she seems physically and emotionally damaged by their continued affair. Kim has realized that he is hooked on her, and is very aware of his (jealously- driven) actions toward her and her family. Without each other, they have no passion in their life, and so they must keep going back to each other.While Min-ki is depressed with his inability to find a job and stuck who so-called "feminine" chores like grocery shopping, cooking, and doing the laundry.Unfortunately,this is a big letdown especially in a patriarchal Korean society.Aside from that,it also damages his confidence that his wife has lost interest in him.The movie tries to bring these people to the viewers and the humanity of these characters.Also,it brings about how these people are susceptible to wrong doings and immoral acts brought about by their weaknesses and their situations in life.The film has explicit sex scenes and violent acts.But overall,it was an exploration of human behavior in the three main characters presented in it.What makes this film effective as well is the brilliant acting of the actors and actress involved which makes it absorbing from beginning to end.I definitely would recommend this to anyone who loves great films.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

rule and exception

Author: ruiresende84 (ruiresende84@gmail.com) from Porto, Portugal
25 February 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I am into korean cinema. They have been giving me some of the deepest experiences with recent years cinema. From the current crop of (at least) competent korean filmmakers, we have Wook-Park and Kim Ki-Duk. Both of them have added value to my life with some of their films. Apart from them i found lots of competence and thrill in other films from there.

Now i saw this. It's impressive, not powerful and life-altering like Oldboy or Bin-jip but still worthy.

Let me remark on how this is built. The film begins and (practically) ends with 2 really exaggerated and intense scenes: it starts with a visceral obsessed sex scene and ends with a brutal killing. Both are enhanced beyond what was need to make a statement and both go a little bit beyond what we would normally tolerate in such scenes. In the middle of these scenes, we are given scenes of common, even dull daily routine. Cooking, nursering, reading, working, eating. Just that. So, the scenes are extreme moments of ordinary lives. It's what the film is about. The killing is an exaggerated, violent and uncommon reaction to a relatively ordinary situation of adultery. The film visually corresponds to this, so we have a case of great adequation between what we see and what we are told. That is good enough to please me.

This is flawed in the way it purely relies on the effect these scenes should have on you. The risks are minimized to those two scenes and controversy they might (and did) cause. Well, i think the film works relatively well, but the scenes didn't shock me so much (the last 10 years gave us films like Irreversible). Still, what stays is good experience, because the whole film is about making us numb and unreactive, and than shake us and suddenly wake us up. It's relatively thin but it works, and most of all, it does it cinematically, it does it in the eye.

The artistic work is great. The cinematography is perfectly aware of colours, saturations, and composition elements. It's beautiful, and something we see over and over in every korean film, even the worst ones. Visually, korean cinema doesn't seem to be as depurated and abstract as Japanese imagery, instead it is a pleasant relaxed depiction of beauty, with western concepts and influences and, yet, very rooted in an eastern society. I suppose it corresponds to where South Korea stands culturally these days.

My opinion: 3/5

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

A Happy End...?

9/10
Author: pinkston from United States
17 December 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Happy End is a wonderful, yet frightening, look at what a love triangle does for the people involved. Noted for its twist ending, the film begs the question of whether the drastic choices we make (although in very painful situations) really benefit our lives in any way. Ji-woo Chung's intimate approach to this film lets the viewer really look inside the characters and their motivations. Choi Min-sik gives a great performance, right up there with Oldboy and Failan. I don't know if there is another actor in the world that can get so much sympathy from his audience. A really great film, coming from a country that makes one great film after another.

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1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Tragic end

8/10
Author: kevin shi (shihaijiang142@msn.com) from ShangHai, China
25 January 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Seo was a kind middle-aged man. He had a competent wife and a cute daughter. Due to enough financial support from his wife, he was not so anxious to seek a job. On the contrary he led a lazy life by reading novels. Of cause he had to spend some time on looking after his young daughter. One day he accidentally found that one of keys that belonged to his wife was strange. He began to doubt the loyalty of his wife. A family crisis occurred.

The unexpected ending was powerful and shocking. Extra-martial affair is bad in my eyes. It not only breaks a family but also brings agony to other people. If you did it and caused bad outcome, you had nobody to blame but yourself.

Min-sik Choi convincingly played a desperate husband. I think that he is one of the best Korean actors. He also left me deep impression in Oldboy, Springtime.

An excellent Korean drama. 8/10

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0 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Sizzling Sex Scenes Need No Further Explanation

6/10
Author: gonzaga ext from Philippines and United States
30 October 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Some films need no elaborate critiques so just a brief note on Chung Ji Woo's "Happy End": Yes, it has an ironic title, it may be misogynistic (I personally don't think it is), it's one of the most controversial South Korean films, and it's probably a commentary on gender roles as the country evolves. Or we can just simply say that this film has damn good sex scenes. Period. There are no profound truths, just a hot guy, Il-Beom (Ju Jin-Mo, star of Kim Ki-Duk's "Real Fiction"), and a cute girl, Bora (Jeon Do-Yeon), f%^@#$ each other like there's no tomorrow. The shameless, illicit nature of the sex heightens the eroticism: the adulterer is a woman who sneaks around for sex while her jobless husband sits at home with their infant and watches soap operas. The power b*tch f%@#s around! There's no frontal nudity and there's only 2 sex scenes but 2 things more than make up for it: the first sex scene is done in pretty much 1 (well-done) long take and handsome Ju Jin-Mo's beautiful naturally lean frame (and derrière) in motion is just beautiful.

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1 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

A good movie about a nice man turned bad

8/10
Author: ginkonut from San Francisco
11 August 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

**spoiler**. This is a simple story that has some great acting in it. One of those movies where at the end, you just say, 'woah'. This is all I recall about the movie, and it has been about 4 years since I last saw it. I remember being able to empathize with the main character. And from the viewpoint of the husband, it is a happy ending. He got rid of the wife who betrayed him and kept his baby whom he loved. I was glad he 'got away'...you are suppose to be. He cries at the end out of happiness that he still has his baby. He was a good guy, totally not appreciated, follows all the rules, does all his duties, is kind to others, especially his wife. He's a nice guy, who's finishing last. I think the whole scene with his wife with her lover on his bed while he was under the bed just simply traumatized his. He went overboard. He went down the 'other' darker path. Face it folks, if he instead decided to not get 'bloody' and instead, go to court, divorce and fight over the child for the rest of his life, like most people do, then we wouldn't have a movie would we? Anyways, if want to see Disney-like happy Korean movies there's plenty of them. Would you go see one? Go then, you can see one at anytime. Here's a little movie that went the other way, and this is why it's different.

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2 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Misogynistic revenge fantasy?

7/10
Author: Aizyk from Big D
4 January 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I believe this is the fourth or fifth film I've watched starring Min-Sik Choi, who is quite an accomplished actor. The DVD cover proclaims Happy End to be "one of the most controversial Korean films ever made!" It's not difficult to imagine why this film might cause controversy. On the one hand, shortly after the film begins, a semi-explicit sex scene takes place that seems to go on for a gratuitously long time. But nothing is shown during the sex scenes that wasn't shown in the much less controversial, more traditional Korean period piece, Chunhyang. Perhaps it is the nature of the sex taking place, that of illicit extramarital liaisons, that contributed to its controversy. But I believe the bulk of the film's controversy is due to what ultimately emerges as the film's theme.

This film could be viewed as a sadistic wet dream pandering to certain men who are disgruntled by what they feel is an emasculating and increasingly common situation of this modern age: that of the unemployed, stay-at-home husband. Except that when this unemployed husband is home, he spends most of his time watching soap operas, only occasionally lifting a finger to help with the baby. Instead of looking for work, he kills time each day crouched in the used book store, reading romance novels, to the chagrin of the store owner, whose policy regarding such patrons is less welcoming than that of Barnes & Noble. The husband is mopey, and never expresses affection towards or sexual attraction to his wife. Since he barely helps out around the house, when his wife gets home from work she ends up having to do the cleaning and the chores on top of her job, even though he has much more free time and is home much more than she is. As a companion, he is ineffectual and impotent. At one point during the final third of the film, as she's alone at home on her hands and knees scrubbing the floor, she tells herself that she has to "end it". It's unclear at the time whether she's talking about her relationship with her husband, or with her co-worker Il-bum. For the most part, she endures the imbalance in her relationship with her husband without much complaint, perhaps contritely due to a sense of guilt she possesses over the fact that she is engaged in an affair.

It's revealed that Il-Bum is actually baby Yun's father, and that they were a couple before her current husband came into her life and married her. Why would she leave her former lover to be with such a pathetic, and ultimately deranged and lethal man? There is an indication that at one time he was successful and financially more secure. But her past and present boyfriend is more attractive, more passionate, and more considerate. For reasons that aren't fully explained, she reacts negatively to his small, caring gestures. When he buys a toothbrush that she can use when she's over at his place, she lashes out. She does the same when she discovers toys that he's bought for the baby. She seems conflicted by emotions of desire, guilt, and annoyance with both the men in her life and her situation in general. There is also at least one major plot hole in this film that I could not overlook. At one point near the end of the film, she mixes a bit of sleeping medication into her baby's formula, so that she can leave her in the apartment to go confront her lover and break off their relationship. But her husband could come home at any minute, and yet she apparently doesn't stop to consider that. Perhaps the simple, though inadequate answer to the questions raised by her acts is that she just isn't a very sensible woman. But nor is she portrayed as being mentally slow. Distracted, certainly.

Inevitably, her husband comes home to find the baby there alone, and eventually discovers that he's being cheated on. He premeditates a vicious revenge, in which he terrifies her before committing brutal murder, bludgeoning her over and over with her lover's knife which he stole from the former's home, gradually slowing to pause and stare at the body for a couple moments in between stabs. He then uses the weapon to frame her lover for the murder he's committed. The last time we see Il-Bum is in custody, being pressured into giving up his right to remain silent without a lawyer. We're only left to imagine what becomes of him.

There's a misanthropic sense of self-satisfaction in the supposedly "clever" irony of the film's title. Not knowing what the filmmaker's intentions were, I'm led to wonder after watching this film if those who wrote and directed it consider the end which befell Bora and her child's true father to be a "happy" one. The superior tone of one of the previous comments here glibly indicates with a wink and a nod that she deserved to be horribly and brutally slayed by her baby's "touching motherly daddy" because SHE'D gone too far. How alarmingly vile.

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0 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

The misleading title

5/10
Author: Min Cho from Atlanta, GA
16 January 2000

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

"Happy End" is a movie about a women who is having an affair and how the husband takes matter into his own hands. The married couple has a child, but that child is not from the father but from the other man.

Anyway not to spoil the movie, the story show how the wife eludes the husband and gets with the other man.

In my opinion that title is misleading. Be advised when watching this movie.

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7 out of 47 people found the following review useful:

Men will always stay men

7/10
Author: patonamu
21 April 2002

An excellently performed movie about our age of the equality of the genders. If men lose their jobs and their wives have wild affairs can a man forever hold his horses? An original story with a touching motherly daddy who knows when enough is enough...

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