This is one of the first South Korean films I’ve seen and I think its opened me up to a new world of film (the only other movie I’ve watched being “Old Boy”).-
Directed by Lee Hae-Joon, Castaway on the Moon is a new way of telling an old story. The old story being man working in a dead end office job, he’s in debt and he takes his own life. It usually stops there and it’s a cry fest, maybe you hear the aftermath of how devastated the family is, but then it stops.
This story really starts with how the main character, Kim Seung-geun jumps off a bridge and floats ashore to an island, too far from the mainland to swim, but far enough so nobody will hear him.
He then makes it a goal to explore the island, figuring out that there is only none-exciting vegetation and no real shelter except the stereotypical Korean duck boats. He makes it his new home. He’s convinced this is going to be his new life, and he turns from a heartbroken, sad man- to a happy, and excited about life.
While he’s discovering his new way of living, we are introduced to the girl who will eventually save him- Kim Jung-yeon. She’s this shut of a girl, who never leaves her room and hasn’t seen the light of day since god knows how long. She suffers from depression.
She spends her day on the internet, pretending to be someone she isn’t. She spends it eating instant noodles, she spends it doing a specific amount of on the spot running and she sleeps in her little closet, only to ignore the rest of how she’s living. Her parents don’t know how to deal with her, and all they can do is give her space. They leave food outside the door, tell her that they love her and proceed to go to work like every other day.
But low and behold, while she was looking out her telescope- she see’s this little man living on this island and it starts an instant connection. He doesn’t know she’s watching her. I think she found strength in that though, she takes her time in introducing herself to him. She connects with him on a level that maybe she saw bits of herself in her.
He inspires her and in the first time in years, she leaves her house. She’s ultra prepared too. She distracts the doorman with a toy robot, she brings her gear and she rides off in the darkness.
She arrives at the bridge and throws a letter in bottle over into the thick bush underneath it, hoping that he will one day find it. He does… but it takes a while. And All it says is “Hello”.
This starts the slow build up to their romantic relationship. It’s quirky to say that least, but how can’t you love two broken hearted, in need of soul fixing individuals. You slowly start to route for both the characters and wish with all your heart that they’ll eventually find each other in the flesh.
What I really loved about this film, is how imperfect the shut in of a girl was. They didn’t dress her up as a model in hiding. But no, she was a mess of a individual. She wore the same dirty clothes, she was unhealthy and she was living in her gross surroundings. I feel a lot of the time, that the film makers of today, they glorify how apparently “most people” deal with depression. And we all know it isn’t. When we’re sad, we don’t clean, when we;’re upset we don’t care about the food we’re eating and how much we don’t care about how we dress. And I’m not talking about “OOo man, I didn’t brush my teeth”, I’m talking about ” I haven’t changed my outfit in a week, and there is a build up of weeks of dirty dishes in my room”. Kudos!
I’m not going ruin the ending, because it’s rather obvious. But I do suggest watching this film. Even if you’ve never seen any other South Korean film in your life, I think this would be a great place to start.