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Whew, talk about an unexpected surprise! Cha tae-hyun (of My Sassy Girl
fame) seems to be involved in a never-ending list of box office hits,
from the aforementioned title to the more recent My Speedy Scandal.
With Hello Ghost, he can add another one to his belt.
Marketed and billed as sort of a screwball comedy involving ghosts, the movie is surprisingly light on comedy and more heavy on scenes of a more touching nature.
The movie tells the story of a suicidal man (played by Cha) who is a complete failure in life, with no family to speak of and no friends to comfort him. Following a close brush with death, he starts to see 4 ghosts who can inhabit his body at will. A woman who is always crying, an old pervert, a middle aged smoking taxi driver, and a young boy with a penchant for sweets.
The movie goes through the expected motions of each ghost practically instilling him with a different value and newfound appreciation for life, HOWEVER, it is the climax of the movie that ties EVERYTHING together in a way that will not only make you think back and go "ahhh, that makes more sense now" but also, will create an a flood of never-ending tears and sobs (...at least on my part).
Give this movie a chance and stick with it to the end, you'll be glad (or sad, depending) you did.
And I almost missed it. When I saw the poster, I thought to myself
"Another stupid comedy making fun of ghosts". But due to the fact that
Tae-hyun Cha is a very good actor, and he has never failed to impress
me, I decided to force myself to watch it. And that is a very brilliant
decision of mine.
Cha successfully plays the role of a hopeless guy, Sang-Man ,who doesn't have a family, friends, goals and desire to live. After a few attempts to commit suicide, he was stuck with 4 ghosts. While trying to fulfill their wishlist to free himself from those ghosts, he was helped by them to get close to the beautiful nurse Jung Yun-soo (Kang Hye-won). The movie moved at quite a slow pace at first but I didn't really mind. Every minute passed and you find yourself in more and more confusing questions about the ghosts and their stories that you couldn't wait for the next part of the movie to answer them.
The most shocking part is the ending. It is completely unpredictable. I watched the ending with my mouth wide open (because it was absolutely against what I thought it would be), tears keep falling from my eyes and I finished the movie with a very satisfy smile.
Excellent movie. I would highly recommend it. If you are searching for a light, touching, emotional (and sometimes hilarious) movie, this one is definitely for you.
I am not a movie buff I just like watching films in any language as long as they fit my criteria. I don't usually go for horror, action or thrillers. I really like sci-fi, fantasy and romantic comedy. And this film ticks a lot of boxes for me. Being in my mid sixties I have got past being an adrenalin junkie and have had enough of crash- bang-wallop films and ones that attempt to give me a heart attack. I want films that make me feel warm and cuddly and put a wistful smile on my face. How Korea keep making films like this to such high standards of photography storyline and character development is beyond me. Hollywood is so predictable and boring that they are bottom of my list when checking out new releases, if they do by accident make an original film instead of a remake of some other countries they don't change the formula until all the other studios have made their version of the same or very similar film all of them crap by comparison. This film is straight into my list of all time favourites. It opens with a young man sitting in a sparsely furnished room shovelling handfuls of pills into his mouth when the phone rings......... He ends up with four ghosts as companions - an old man who has lost a camera another who has been looking for a car, a woman who can't stop crying and a small boy. They are all quirky and endearing and we begin to care about them as their stories unfold before us.........
Wow, this movie turned out to be quite a surprise. Initially I had
expected it to be an ordinary Korean comedy, but "Hello Ghost" is so
much more than just that. Yes, there were moments in the movie that
really had me laughing out loud - some really hilarious scenes. But
what took me by surprise was the depth of this movie and the brilliancy
of the storyline.
About halfway through the movie, I must admit that I thought it was just going to be a so-so comedy movie, then suddenly the story turns up a notch and in the last quarter of the movie you are really in for a surprise. And a word of warning, you might want to have some tissue at hand.
The Korean film makers usually make great movies, and "Hello Ghost" is not an exception. Sure, the movie can seem to drag on about halfway through, but don't give up on it, because this movie will really make an impact and stay with you for quite a while. And the combination of humor and drama is mixed together in such a unique way that it sweeps you off your feet.
Despite not recognizing any of the actors or actresses in this movie, I will say that people in the movie did a good job and really brought the movie to life and made their characters stand out uniquely.
"Hello Ghost" has been one of the most impressive surprises I have had this year of watching movies. And being a big fan of Asian films, I strongly recommend that you watch this movie if you like Asian movies or if you like a grand drama.
"Hello Ghost" will make you laugh. "Hello Ghost" will make you cry. "Hello Ghost" will make you open up your eyes to belonging to a family and having a sense of home. "Hello Ghost" will stay with you for a long time even after the movie has stopped.
Thumb up, way up, for this brilliant Korean pearl of a drama!
What a surprise ending! Fantastic! Whoever makes this into an English language film had better protect it against too much overt corn along the way. It must have real dignity and integrity as a film! Good luck to all concerned! This could be an enormous success for English language audiences if the people who do the adaptation don't give into sappiness. I would kill to get the job of adapting it. I'd love to write AND direct. I know just who to cast and who to hire for the DP. I'm in love with this picture--the idea and it's potential for American markets and English language audiences around the world. Boy oh boy, what a find! All the best!
i like the Korean movies,, specially for drama movies,, Korean drama movies are so romantics, humanities, and unpredictable for ending... cha tae hyon is the one of best Korean actor,, his movie like my sassy girl, ba-bo aka miracle of being fool, speed scandal,, and the newest hello ghost is one the best Korean drama movie for family... the story was comedy in the first of the movie,, but in ending you will find the unpredictable ending and also will make you very very melancholics and will remembered you about the most important person in your life.. FAMILY.... if you like drama comedy family this is the best i have ever seen... its will make you cry in the ending..... i love it i love cha tae hyon...
Sang-man (Tae-hyun Cha) is an adult orphan, with no job, no friends and
no life. So it's not surprising that he's seeking to end his life, only
he's really bad at it and every time he tries to kill himself, he ends
up in the hospital. On the most recent occasion, he finds some strange
characters in the hospital with him an Old Man (Moon-su Lee), a chain
smoker (Chang-Seok Ko), a crying woman (Young-nam Jang) and a kid
(Bo-geun Cheon); it isn't long before he realizes that they are all
ghosts who, for some reason, have decided to stick to him like glue. An
old fortune-teller (Ho-seok Kong) tells him they will only depart after
he has fulfilled their wishes, and that he cannot take his own life
until the ghosts are gone. Meanwhile, Jung Yun-Soo (Kang Hye-Won) is
working at a hospice where the dying patients include a young child, a
pregnant woman and an old man, her father. She must make her peace with
them, and with their circumstances, and her life is made much more
complicated when Sang-man meets her and falls in love....
This is a wonderful film, the first directed by Young-Tak Kim; it's funny, it's charming, and it's poignant, all without being in the least bit sappy. The revelations about the lives of the ghosts, about Yun-Soo's treatment of and by her father, and the denouement were all exciting and touching; I'm pretty sure there wasn't a dry eye in the house by the end. Tae-hyun Cha is delightful in the lead, but my favourite was Chang-Seok Ko as the chain smoker, a fat man with a sometimes sorrowful countenance but an absolutely stellar smile. My favourite film of FantAsia 2011 so far, and highly recommended if it comes to your town!
You can trust the Koreans to come up with a film that pads itself so
much that the narrative seems to be never ending, until the final act
that sledgehammers the best of emotions, tugging at your heartstrings
and realizing that the extended narrative was all worthwhile for the
payload at the end. Written and directed by Kim Young-Tak, Happy Ghosts
may seem like a lightweight comedy that follows a tried and tested
route, but I guarantee you'll be hard pressed not to give it a standing
ovation when it continues to veer into melodramatic territory, just as
you thought that Kim's pace was off for the most parts, that everything
got forgiven for what was the final scenes that made the movie instead
of breaking it.
Cha Tae-Hyun of My Sassy Girl fame stars as Sang-Man, a man whom we see in the opening scene trying to commit suicide in a cheap motel by swallowing a number of pills, only for the attempt to be thwarted by the motel owner who intervened on time. A subsequent attempt to drown in a river also got interrupted by coast guards on duty, and a quick trip to the hospital allowed him a second chance at life, bringing him back from the brink of death only to open his eyes to the presence of a number of ghosts who reveal themselves to him when in the hospital, each possessing distinct traits such as a smoker, an alcoholic, a weeping lady and a young boy with an incredibly sweet tooth.
As we soon learn, Sang-Man is depressed for having to be an orphan in the world, and quite fed up at being alone. As the adage goes, be careful what you wish for, as he now has unwanted company in the form of those spirits who each take turn, or sometimes almost simultaneously, to possess him, leading to expected hilarity as he demonstrates the dominant trait to the bafflement of others. Under the advice of a medium, and probably any one of us who have seen our fair share of friendly spirit films, the spirits are in our world using the body of a human as a vessel to go about completing their unfinished business, before they can finally depart the earthly realm.
Thus begins the quest to finish each of the ghosts' outstanding issues in narratively episodic fashion, such as one wanting to watch an animated movie, another wanting a camera back from a policeman, or even a simple requirement of having a meal together. While it will all make sense later on, it will, at this point, frustrate the impatient viewer as the episodes aren't quite ground breaking in any way, having this rather coincidental or familiar feel to them all that you've probably seen something similar in another film. The bright spark will of course be that the ghostly quests also all seem to point to, and help Sang-Man, in his romance of the hospital nurse Jung Yun-Soo (Kang Hye-Won), setting up an avenue for romance as well although it was a rather awkward, though inevitable, inclusion, into the storyline that took quite a while for it to develop.
Thematically, this is a film about belonging and family, where the lack of one drove one to want to kill himself for the lack of love and essential support, while for another character to detest whatever family she has left, albeit the latter not being too pronounced for the most parts. It reminds us of the importance of family and how grudges should always be addressed and not left for too late, reminders about positions that we sometimes lapse into. Kim also had a lot of ground he had wanted to cover with his story, resulting in the setup being quite scattered and a shifting in focus, with characters entering and being left out for the most of the midsection.
Cha Tae-Hyun may have made his name as the male lead opposite Jun Ji-hyun in My Sassy Girl, and while Jun's career may have taken off in relatively stratospheric fashion, I suppose it is now that his will finally make people sit up and take notice, playing a character being possessed by different characters will mean the actor having to impersonate or adopt the various character traits developed by others as his own that will allow for a showcase of acting chops of some sorts, from having to laugh, to cry, even some signs of childishness and slight feminism, contributing to intended comedy thanks to Cha's comedic timing, and hang- dog looks that he exploits.
There are the usual plot element loopholes as well which shouldn't bother the casual viewer, unless one gets perturbed by issues when the filmmakers didn't set their goal posts firmly, such as deciding whether the things the ghosts touch in the real world will affect those items directly, or that they would just be representations in the spiritual realm, although one can argue that such instances are performed through Sang-Man as the vessel, but if you observe closely, it's not being kept consistent.
But don't let that detract you from what makes for a powerful drama that will make you hard pressed not to reach out for that tissue. Little did I expect this to be what it was summed up at the end, and for that, made the erratic pacing for the most parts of the film come with a little bit more gravitas that warrants at least a repeated viewing, and powers its way into my shortlist amongst this year's best. Highly recommended!
Did you ever feel like breaking down? Did you ever feel like you were
all alone in this world? Think again
Sang-Man, played by Cha Tae-Hyun, is one who felt so alone that he thought lightly of his own life and tried to commit suicide umpteen times. However, he has never succeeded and each time he fails, he finds himself is back to his meaningless and mundane life. He had always been alone, ever since he was an orphan from a young age. However the most recent suicide attempt ends up to be an important turning point in his life.
To Sang-Man's horror (pun intended), he sees four ghosts after escaping death. They are clingy, following him wherever he goes. Each ghost has a distinct personality, and take turns to possess Sang-Man to achieve their desires, be it binge drinking or smoking or eating lots of sweets and tidbits. This high standard of characterization sets a good foundation for Cha subsequently. Cha has done an incredible job in bringing out distinct and specific traits of the ghosts, convincingly 'possessed'. Cha has been known for his flair in acting, especially in comedies, since My Sassy Girl (2001), and the more recent Speedy Scandal (aka Scandal Makers; 2008). Likewise, his performance in Hello Ghost is just as humorous and impressive. His presence has definitely increased the entertainment value of the film exponentially. The social awkwardness experienced by Sang-Man and the ridiculous scenarios that he is stuck in are so comedic that it makes one laugh out loud uncontrollably. On the other hand, the actor has showed his maturity in acting as well as competence when the character requires him to display the non-comedic side.
The plot of the movie is rather simple, uncluttered and easy to follow. However, one may find that the movie gets a little lengthy mid-way, having unnecessary details that make no sense, such as the psychic that he goes to for 'divine help'. Expectedly, the themes of family and love are especially prominent in this movie. Indeed family and love are a foolproof formula for films aimed to tug people's heartstrings. The film has achieved its affective motives, and combined with the comedic elements, the movie is overall pretty well balanced and a feel-good for the audiences.
The movie is surprisingly meaningful. At its core, Sang-Man is just like you and me, a person born into this world, constantly seeking for identify and affection. However in this blind pursuit, one tends to forget what and who is truly important and always shields us from the mean mean world. Finally when the realization happens, it will bring one to his critical point, and then emerge an even stronger person!
P.S.: Even American filmmaker Chris Columbus has set his eyes on this movie and purchased the remake rights. But first, catch the original!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Before I start to review this title I have to inform the reader that my
expectations for South Korean Movies are exceptionally high. In other
words the bar is raised because there are so many Brilliant movies from
that country out there and they're all compared to each other.
So... I found for the most part this movie as average, slightly entertaining, slightly funny.
Then the ending came....
I think I cried for 3 hours.
Without the ending I would have given this movie maybe a 6 or a 7. With the ending and realizing how the movie and slowly crafted itself towards that ending a slightly average movie (In S.Korean standards) suddenly becomes a slightly incredible movie.
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