She walked into a small clothing boutique and struck up a brief conversation with the owner of the store. The owner seemed to hold a grim internal mood, hidden somewhat by her stiff exterior expression. The boutique itself seemed to get very little business, while the interior of the store was painted all black. Shin-Ae gently smiled and offered this tip to the boutique owner before walking out, “If you change the interior to a brighter color, people will likely feel more comfortable and want to come into your store.” At the end of the movie, the boutique owner had indeed re-designed the interior of her store, with the walls painted all in white. When the shop owner saw Shin-Ae, she smiled and laughed with happiness that she did not possess in her earlier scene.
Secret Sunshine is a movie that will likely stay in your mind for days after seeing the movie. The story was utterly riveting, while the performances by Do-yeon Jeon and Kang-ho Song were nothing short of brilliant. Questions that are often asked internally, but not as often asked in films, were boldly asked in Secret Sunshine. The answers were never clearly revealed in the film, but left to be answered internally by the viewer themselves. A fitting way to answer the film’s original question I would say.
It is unlikely you are going to see a more palpable portrayal of grief this year than Jeon Do-yeon’s magnificent perfomance as Shin-ae in this Korean drama of the heart.
She moves with her son to the small town of Milyang, which means Secret Sunshine in Chinese, in an attempt to forge a new life for herself after the death of her husband. Her mantra, whenever anyone asks why she has moved from Seoul, is “My husband was born here.”
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