Starring SHIM Eun-kyoung, NA Moon-hee, PARK In-hwan, JANG Kwang, LEE Jin-wook
Release Date January 23, 2014
Lunar New Year (Selloal), one of Korea’s two major holidays along with Thanksgiving (Chuseok), is a time when Koreans travel to visit their families and along with the various festivities that take place at home, the three-day holiday is also a good opportunity to attract large groups to theaters. Over the last few years the Korean film industry has become increasingly adept at programming fare designed for families and this year is no different as four major films will be shuffling into theaters. CJ Entertainment will be presenting Miss Granny, a high concept family comedy with a little something for everyone.
The 74-year-old Mal-sun lives with her daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren but her stubborn behavior has begun to takes its toll on her family. One evening as she strolls on the street she happens upon a photo shop and decides to get a portrait taken. When Mal-sun rides the bus afterwards, she attracts some unusual attention and after catching her reflection she is shocked to discover that she has magically transformed into her 20-year-old self. Not knowing what to do she decides to hide from her family and soon ends up lodging with her café shop co-worker. After wowing a group of pensioners with a stirring karaoke tune she attracts the notice of her grandson and a music competition show producer. Her grandson invites her to join his band while the producer does his best to track her down again.
Young star SHIM Eun-kyoung, who featured in the 2011 ensemble hit Sunny, shines here as she acts like a curmudgeonly old Korean woman. The film may be fantastical and at times contrived, but by relying on her engaging performance Miss Granny has no trouble staying on track. Playing the granny before her transformation is the veteran NA Moon-hee, a prolific performer in movies and television who has made a name for herself with her instantly recognizable blend of sharp delivery and warm expressions.
Though a significant departure from his previous film, the incendiary courtroom drama Silenced (2011), director HWANG Dong-hyuk has no trouble balancing the various elements in this 124-minute film, which stretch from comedy and family drama, to music and romance. The film is also careful to keep things interesting for both younger and older viewers
The universal nature of the comedy and SHIM’s endearing performance make this a breezy ride even for those less familiar with Korea’s social ticks. An ideal confection for family crowds, Miss Granny is the ideal Lunar New Year offering.
By Pierce Conran