Korean film review: 수상한 그녀 Susang Hannyo; Miss Granny (2014)

This is an adorable comedy film which begins with common problems – ageing and living with extended family. A 74 year-old widow (played by Na Mun-hee) lives with her son and family but their relationships are strained due to her cranky personality. So her family discuss moving her to an old people’s home. This news depresses her and she goes off and has a photograph taken in preparation for her funeral only to miraculously have a metamorphosis and arrive back in her 20-year-old body!

Mal-soon begins to attract a lot of attention not just for her beauty but also for her retro fashion sense and outlook on life. She is very different from the other young women her age! Mal-soon has another chance at youth and does what lots of young people dream of – she joins a band and finds romance. The songs really added to my enjoyment of the film and in particular, the song White Butterfly (see below for lyrics) is very poignant.

It’s an outstanding performance in the lead role as the young Mal-soon by 21-year-old Shim Eun-Kyung who has already starred in many dramas as a child actress. (Read more about Shim Eun-kyung and her acting here) She keeps the mannerisms and language of a halmoni. And is completely believable even in a rather unbelievable scenario that could so easily have turned cheesy!

This  movie was a huge hit and watched by over 8 million viewers in Korea. In an interview, the director Hwang Dong Hyuk said that he wanted to make a film that appreciated mothers and grandmothers who have given up so much of themselves for others. He wanted to show them that their lives are important and meaningful.

As Oscar Wilde said, ‘Youth is wasted on the young‘. And the film made me think about how differently we would appreciate and live our lives if we could go back in time and take all our life’s experiences with us. It also points out how society values youth over experience. And how we are all judged by how we look. But there are lots of opportunities for comedy such as when Mal-soon gets into hot water for using plain language to ‘older’ people! So all in all the film is a great mix of thought-provoking and moving scenes as well as lots of comedy. I loved it.

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One of the main songs in the film is 하얀나비 ha-yan na-bi (White Butterfly). In a poignant part of the film the young-looking Mal-soon sings this ballad whilst reflecting back on her tough life. The song was originally performed by singer Kim Jung-ho 김정호 who died aged only 33 in 1985. It’s a short but beautiful song.

음 생각을 말아요 지나간 일들은
Don’t mull over memories. They are in the past

음 그리워 말아요 떠나갈 님인데
Don’t yearn for him. One day he’ll be gone

꽃잎은 시들어요 슬퍼하지 말아요
Flower petals wither and fade. Don’t be downcast

때가 되면 다시 필걸 서러워 말아요
In time they will bloom again. Don’t be sad

음음음음 음 um um um um um

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어디로 갔을까 길 잃은 나그네는
Where did he go? The traveller who lost his way

음 어디로 갈까요. 님 찾는 하얀 나비
Where can the white butterfly go? To search for her love

꽃잎은 시들어요 슬퍼하지 말아요
Flower petals wither and fade. Don’t be downcast

때가 되면 다시 필걸 서러워 말아요
In time they will bloom again. Don’t be sad

음음음음 um um um um

One thought on “Korean film review: 수상한 그녀 Susang Hannyo; Miss Granny (2014)

  • November 21, 2015 at 3:10 am
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    I also loved this movie! Very sweet.

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