Grief Gone Mad in Secret Sunshine
Buried in the year-end rush but one of the years best films, Lee Chang-dongs rending, hyperventilating follow-up to 2002s Oasis focuses on Shin-ae (Jeon Do-yeon), a willowy, not-too-pretty young mother relocating to the obscure burg her dead husband came from, for obscure reasons. Reserved and cagey, Shin-ae herself remains a mystery, as she resists the gang-press of gossipy neighbors and over-friendly men (including congenial mechanic Song Kang-ho), plays with her headstrong grade-school son, and sets up a storefront piano school. Her unsettled life, and the mellow rhythms of the film, get scorched when her boy is kidnapped and then found dead, launching Shin-ae into a cascade of walking death, beatific Christian born-again-ness, leveling disillusionment (she decides to forgive the imprisoned killer in person, never a good idea), and self-destruction. Like a twisted sister to Rabbit Hole, Secret Sunshine doesnt just posit grief but probes the hidden biology of it, like a parasite slowly chewing up its host from the inside. Lee makes lengthy, expansive, unpredictable movies always gripped by emotional tribulation, and the red-eyed Jeon, landing a Best Actress at Cannes in 2007 and unforgettable as well in The Housemaid, goes to hell and back.
Get the Film & TV Newsletter
Stay up to date on the best new movies with our critics' latest reviews, interviews and trailers for the films coming to a theater near you each week.
More Film News
- Scott Adkins Plays a Badass Actually Named ‘Colt McReady’ In the Effective ‘Close Range’
- Meet the Pole Who Tried to Warn the World About the Holocaust in ‘Karski & the Lords...
- Jane Fonda Faced Down the Seventies and a Killer in Pakula’s Masterful ‘Klute’
- He’ll Get Your Head Shaking: Surveying the Start of Chung Mong-hong’s (Likely) Great...