Sunny recounts the heartwarming story of an old high school clique reunion. The protagonist Chun Hwa is in the terminal stages of cancer when she requests to see her old high school clique again. The girls revisit their favorite memories from the 80’s, both good and bad.
This 2011 film was a massive success. Thus, Sunny proudly ranks 21st highest grossing Korean films of all time. Sunny also brought actress Kang So Ra to major stardom. And its poppin’ soundtrack and flamboyant dance gained popularity after its initial screening too.
One of the greatest contributing factors to the success of this film is its mastery of character development. The clique accurately portrays every stereotype in high school through a lovable light – from the mysterious reserved beauty to the queen of swearing and the loyal, charismatic leader -.
The second and probably more important factor that added to Sunny’s huge success is that the film resonates with the audience. The film deals with a subject matter that the audience could easily identify to; its themes are something everyone can relate to.
Sunny is not just a fabricated, rosy, and naive depiction of the past but one with historical accuracy, raw emotion, and genuine heart-to-heart moments. For example, the girls encounter an anti-government protest in times of authoritarian rule. On the other hand, a peak of tacky neon accessories, American records, and iconic funky hair of the time stirs nostalgia for the 80’s.
Furthermore, Sunny contributed to the rise in retro-themed television series followed by Reply 1994 (2013), Reply 1997 (2012), and Reply 1988 (2015). These flashback films take you back to a wonderful imaginary land.
All in all, Sunny is a wholehearted, charming comedy and one of the best K-movies about friendship.
By Hajin Lily Yi