HELLO GHOST (Hellowoo Goseuteu) (2010)

In Korean with English & Chinese Subtitles
Genre: Comedy
Director: Kim Yeong-Tak
Cast: Cha Tae-Hyun, Kang Ye-Won, Lee Moon-Soo, Ko Chang-Seok, Jang Young-Nam, Cheon Bo-Geun
RunTime: 1 hr 51 mins
Released By: Scorpio East Pictures & Cathay-Keris Films
Rating: PG
Official Website: http://www.helloghost.co.kr/

Opening Day: 23 June 2011

Synopsis: This heartwarming comedy is about a depressed and lonely man, Sang-Man (Cha Tae-Hyun), starts seeing ghosts after attempting suicide many times. An orphan and a loner who has been alone all his life, Sang-Man suddenly finds his world turned upside down when he starts seeing four ghosts: a chain smoking cab driver, an alcoholic/pervert grandfather, a constantly crying woman and young kid with an insatiable sweet tooth. Learning from a psychic that he cannot get rid of these spirits until he fulfills their last desires, Sang-Man allows them to possess his body. While carrying out their individual wishes, Sang- Man discovers the pleasure of daily life and forgets about his own loneliness and depression.

Movie Review:

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!

Movie Rating:

(Pure enjoyment, pure entertainment. Chase away the blues with this simple and heart-warming movie!)

Reviewed by Tho Shu Ling

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