For people who are into watching Korean dramas and movies just like me, stories that are heart wrenching and tear jerking are nothing new. Korean dramas are even known for sad endings and separation. Out of last year’s movie releases in Korea, one movie stood out among the biggest hits. Nothing is as much of a household name as Miracle in Cell No. 7. A film by Lee Hwan-kyung and starred by Ryu Seung-ryong, Kal So-won, and Park Shin-hye, it was the 2013 highest grossing film in Korea and third highest grossing domestic film of all time.
The film revolves around the story of a daughter and her father with developmental disability who was imprisoned for false accusations of murder. He was scorned and hated by the society for his perceived crime of not only murdering a child for revenge but also kidnapping and sexual molestation. Due to the fact that the victim is a daughter of a high-ranking police official, a just and fair investigation was never done. With the crooked justice system, he ended up incarcerated in cell no. 7 where he met his cellmates who became not only his friends, as they try to sneak in his daughter to the prison, but also a family as they try to help him prove his innocence. The film is a masterpiece with a lot of heart in a sense that it will make you doubt the existence of humanity as it unravels how unjust and infuriating this world can be, yet in the end it will still revive your faith as it unfolds the hidden and buried goodness in the nature of man as shown on how everyone strived to save an innocent man from a wrongful verdict.
One major factor that contributed to the film’s success is that it prides itself of having A-list actors in its casting roster. The actors who played, as cellmates are veterans and well respected in the industry that even with just the introduction scene of their character in the film, you can already empathize with each and every character. The gem of the film though are the characters who played Yong-gyu, the father, and Ye-seung, the daughter namely Ryu Seung-ryong and Kal So-won respectively. Playing a character that has a developmental disability is never an easy job. It takes a great talent for acting. What makes Ryu Seung-ryong great is, that he made the character Yong-gyu respectable and someone to look up to amidst his disability. His acting will not only make the viewers sympathize with the character but empathize. His portrayal will pull you into the film’s world that you would feel rage that he was deprived of justice and you would feel the desire to set him free and save him from his verdict. He will make you laugh so hard, get touched with his paternal love and cry your hearts out. On the other hand, Kal So-Won played the role of a devoted and dependable daughter. You can really feel the love that her character Ye-seung has for his father. Amidst being a famous child actress having a list of child characters in her credentials, you will only see Kal So-won as Ye-seung, a little girl who is adorable and lovable as she tries to stay with her dad against all odds, yes, all odds; even staying with criminals in the prison. Even without the backstory of how the father and daughter ended up with just themselves, you are easily convinced that the father and daughter tandem is so deep and their love for each other surpasses any height. That’s how good the chemistry of Ryu Seung-ryong and Kal So-won is.