Based on the true story of the 2004 Korean Women's Olympic Handball Team. A retired star player, a professional coach of Japan, the oldest and toughest player as well as the best female handball goalkeeper comes together to form a team to recapture their former glory and create a viable team in time for Olympics. Their moral hits rock bottom when they are defeated by a boy's high school team in a practice game. Will they be ready for the Olympics?
Forever the moment is one of those rare films that did well in the recent Korean box office. Without the enforcement of a certain ratio of Korean movies to Hollywood movies being released in the Korean cinema, the demand for Korean movies had been steadily dwindling over it’s more popular counterpart. To make matters tougher for this handball film, sport movies generally do not perform well in the Korean Box office, especially one that is focused mainly on females players. It doesn’t help when the director Lim Soon-rye’s film track record had always been one of critically acclaimed but box office failure.
Forever the Moment went against the odds in a similar fashion as the events that it’s depicting and this tale of the 2004 Korean Women’s Olympic Handball Team attracted over 4 million viewers to it’s theatrical run.
So how did this movie attracted those Korean viewers who already known the result of 2004 Olympic final match? Without giving the ending away as most Singaporean viewers might not be aware of the results, this review will try to dissect some of the possible reasons why this movie had it as one of the top 5 Korean movie of 2008 (behind The Good, the Bad and the Ugly and The Chaser).
Instead of emphasizing on the sport itself such as the training or the group matches in the Olympics, this movie spent majority of its runtime on issues that could be easily relatable whether one is in the sports business or not. Issues such as debts, family problems, conflicts between seniority and the juniors, job insecurity and recognition are all flashed out for viewers to sympathize with the Korean Olympians.
It also painted stark and realistic views of how these Olympians are being treated after they brought honors back to their country. The manner this athletics pursue after their passion even when there aren’t any viable financial rewards was one of the most respectable and touching highlights in this movie.
Partly this movie also succeeds with the selection of the actress, their training for this game and how the handball game was filmed. This film felt realistic to a point when it jumped to the couple final Olympic games, the viewers could be easily transported to the excitement of actual historic game. Even actress Kim Jeong-eun who looked fragile and glam in TV series such as Lovers in Paris actually looked good sweating out in the handball jersey.
However this movie is not without it’s faults. With it’s fictional take on the lives of the handball team players, this film often wander to extreme melodrama and comedy that felt like a derail of the film’s momentum. They are enjoyable but it often make one wonder how much of these are fictional and how much of it are real. There are also times like these that make one wish that the film had spent most of it’s time focusing on the actual games itself.
Otherwise, this film had done a commendable job in capturing that special moment in the 2004 Korean Handball Olympians. It helps to remind the viewers that in life, while it’s important to get that financial advantage, the moment that one would look back with fond memories would probably be those that one is chasing his or her passion in life.
This Code 3 DVD contains no bonus features.
Presented in 16: 9 Letterbox and Dolby Digital 5.1 channel, the picture presentation of the fast pace game was clear with little usages of the back speaker, even for the crowd cheering scenes.
Review by Richard Lim Jr