If you’ve known me for a while, you’d probably know that I generally don’t watch all that many k-movies.
I tend to prefer the dramas over the movies, probably coz so many of the k-movies that I’ve watched seem to either go super gritty & violent, derail, or take weird narrative turns towards the end (Raise your hand if you’ve never had a seemingly harmless k-movie suddenly go all dark, sad and deathy on you!).
Or sometimes, the writers don’t make the best use of their 90 or 120 minutes of available screentime, and the movie ends up feeling more like a highlight reel than a real story. And, well, it’s hard to feel invested in a highlight reel rather than a real story, y’know?
Which is why it makes me so happy to say, Miss Granny is NOT any of those.
I watched this movie on a flight and I loved it. Like, unreservedly, wholeheartedly Loved. It.
The script is thoughtfully written, and the care really shows.
Little details that seem almost throwaway all eventually get resolved, which is impressive. Even more importantly, character arcs and backstories are lovingly conceived and consistently written with so much heart.
I love how the writer explores our perception of the aged, and provokes thought around this theme in such a playful and refreshing, yet also compassionate and poignant manner. The approach is never preachy; instead, the show employs its own tongue-in-cheek, exhilarating technique, of taking us on Oh Mal Soon’s journey (played by Na Moon Hee and Shim Eun Kyung).
In this way, the show inevitably invites us to consider – and empathize with and appreciate – how vibrant every old person has been in his or her youth, and how precious and real their dreams have been to them, even though they are now relegated to the fringes of society in their old age.
The movie’s tone and pacing is also expertly balanced, so that even though it serves up a variety of moods – from laugh-out-loud funny to heart-in-throat moving – it never feels uneven or jerky. Instead, it all flows with an impressive, natural, organic sort of ease.
Just, so well-written.
Just as the writing is fabulously done, so is the delivery by the cast.
In particular, I am so, so impressed by Shim Eun Kyung, who embraces her character with gusto and not a shred of vanity.
As the younger Oh Mal Soon, Shim Eun Kyung seems to literally channel Na Moon Hee’s take on the character, down to her mannerisms, voice inflections and even the look in her eyes.
I really could believe that Shim Eun Kyung as Oh Doo Ri was literally the younger version of Na Moon Hee’s Oh Mal Soon.
Despite her youthful appearance, Shim Eun Kyung manages to portray an old soul really well.
Even when Mal Soon interacted with her son Hyun Chul (Sung Dong Il) while in her youthful body, I could totally believe that this was a meeting between a mother and her son, rather than an agasshi and an ahjusshi.
As expected, Sung Dong Il puts in a wonderful performance as the quietly troubled man caught between wanting to be filial to his mother, and needing to care for his wife and family.
His appearances were restrained compared to Dal Soon’s more spirited scenes, but Sung Dong Il’s portrayal was no less vivid and affecting. Loved him.
Jin Young and Park In Hwan are equal parts adorable and earnest as the boys crushing on Mal Soon, and I found them both a delight to watch.
Lee Jin Wook rounds out the love square that Mal Soon unwittingly finds herself in, and I do love the fact that Gran has not one but three men all moony-eyed over her, even as she continues in her sass-talking, crusty ways.
Goooo, Gran! 😉
The Music & Singing
Thanks to Mal Soon rediscovering her love for singing while in her youthful body, one of the things we get regularly in the movie is music, and Shim Eun Kyung singing to it.
And I hafta say, even among a sea of goodies, this stood out as one of my favorite things in the movie.
The music itself was varied; sometimes it was boppy, and sometimes it was plaintive. Whichever mood the music took, though, I found all the songs appealing in their own way.
I really enjoyed Shim Eun Kyung’s singing as well. I’m pretty sure a sound engineer’s magic was called upon to make the scenes really pop, but Shim Eun Kyung definitely deserves credit.
Not only does her voice sound quite lovely, but her showmanship is winsome and very endearing. Most important of all, her ability to emote while singing really causes each scene to land right where PD-nim wants it – the heart.
Such a lovely touch, to an already lovely movie.
PS: I freaking loved a certain little cameo at the end of the movie. The casting is spot-on, and the inclusion of the cameo itself, quite genius. Let’s just say that I giggled uncontrollably, even though I was on a plane. 😉
THE FINAL VERDICT:
Funny, sweet and touchingly poignant. Worth watching again. And then again.
FINAL GRADE: A+
Just coz I can – and also, coz they’re so good – here are a couple of my favorite song performances from Shim Eun Kyung.
Haunting and poignant:
Intent and completely stirring: