KajoPicks: 10 motivational Korean movies to inspire your day
Sometimes, a little short escape from reality to watch a movie can inspire your day.
These movies do not serve only as entertainment but they have plenty of lessons to teach the audience.
If you are looking for motivational Korean movies to inspire your day, here are KajoMag’s suggestionS.
Based on the true story of Bae Hyeong-jin, an autistic marathon runner, this movie was the fourth most attended Korean film of 2005.
Hyeong-jin’s mother, Park Mi-gyeong told in an interview that she didn’t want people want to label him as a child who couldn’t do anything.
When he was 10 years old, she started to teach him all kinds of sports, including running, swimming and hiking.
After years filled with training and challenges, Hyeong-jin finished the 2001 Chuncheon Marathon in the outstanding time of 2 hours, 57 minutes and 7 seconds.
Meanwhile, the movie circles around 20-year-old Cho-won (Cho Seung-woo). He lives with his highly protective mother Kyung-sook (Kim Mi-sook) and younger brother (Baek Sung-hyun).
Noticing that Cho-won had a gift for running, Kyung-sook decides to hire a proper coach to train her son.
Besides raising awareness on autism, this motivational Korean movie inspires viewers to persevere in facing adversity.
2.Miracle in Cell No. 7 (2013)
Before you start to watch this drama, you might want to prepare tonnes of tissue. This motivational Korean drama is what happen if Sean Penn in I Am Sam (2001) was wrongly accused of murder.
The film circles around Lee Yong-gu (Ryu Seung-ryong) who is mentally challenged with the intellect of a six-year-old.
Due to an ugly twist of fate, he is wrongfully accused of molest and murder.
In the prison, he makes friends with other criminals in his cell. Touched by his kindness and purity, his cellmates help him to see his daughter by smuggling her into the prison.
The movie was a box office success, making it the fifth highest grossing Korean film of all time.
The main character Yong-gu is inspiring in a way that he teaches us to be child-like. Not in the sense of being childish and immature, but be kind to others like an innocent child.
3.Little Forest (2018)
If you are into a slice of life with no out of the world villain kind of movie, Little Forest (2018) is the film for you.
Directed by Yim-Soon-rye, the film is based on a manga series of the same name by Daisuke Igarashi.
The story follows Song Hye-won (Kim Tae-ri) who returns to her childhood home in a small village after failing to pass the national qualification exam to become a teacher.
In her home, she starts to reconnect with her childhood friend and trying to find her purpose of life again.
This movie carries a simple message about life. When things do not go the way you plan, it is important to take a step back and reflect on what to do next. Sometimes letting go can lead you to the things you always wanted in the first place.
4.The Sound of a Flower (2015)
How about a Korean movie about breaking barriers and stereotypes to inspire your day?
Here is a period drama based on the life on Jin Chae-seon. She was the first female pansori singer during the Joseon dynasty.
Pansori is a Korean genre of musical storytelling performed by a singer and a drummer.
Chae-seon grows up enjoying pansor performances. At that time, females are not allowed to learn pansori and perform in public.
She manages to find herself a pansori teacher, Shin Jae-hyo who agrees to train her for the national pansori contest organised by the king’s father Heungseon Daewongun.
However, no one must discover that Chae-seon is a woman or they both will be executed.
The movie stars Bae Suzy as Chae-seon who practiced pansori for year to prepare for the role.
After killing her abusive husband, Hong Jeong-hye (Kim Yunjin) is sentenced to serve 10 years in prison.
Pregnant at the time of her arrest, she gives birth to a baby boy while in prison.
According to the law, she has to give the baby up for adoption. The time finally comes for her to give up the baby.
The prison chief promises that she can spend one day with her baby outside of prison if she successfully forms a prison choir group.
Jeong-hye recruits fellow inmate as the choir’s conductor. Moon Ok (Na Moon-hee) was once a musical professor at a university. But now, she is on death row for killing her adulterous husband.
Will Jeong-hye be able to succeed? This women empowering movie was the fifth best selling film of 2010 in South Korea.
6.As One (2012)
Speaking of women empowerment, As One (2012) is based on the first ever united South and North Korean table tennis team that completed at the 1991 World Table Tennis Championships in Chiba, Japan.
During table tennis competition, South Korean player Hyun Jung-hwa (Ha Ji-won) always comes up short in the gold medal matches against a rival Chinese table tennis player.
One month before the 1991 World Table Tennis Championships, she hears that a single Korean table tennis will be formed from South and North Korea.
Jung-hwa and her teammates oppose the idea. Despite the opposition, the united Korean table tennis team is formed.
When players from the South and North Korea teams meet at a training camp in Japan, they cannot even get along.
Meanwhile, Jung-hwa enters a war of nerves with the top North Korean player Lee Boon-hee (Bae Doo-na).
The movie serves as a reminder that sports has a gift to bring people together and should always stand above political barrier and differences.
7.His Last Gift (2008)
Tae-joo (Shin Hyun-joon) is a murderer serving a life sentence in prison. His old friend Yeong-woo has a daughter, Se-hee who is suffering from Wilson’s disease and desperately needs a liver transplant.
He is given a temporary release to save Se-hee’s life. Tae-joo then discovers that Se-hee’s deceased mother was his ex-wife.
Even more, he also discovers that Se-hee is in fact his biological daughter.
Now, he is determined to do everything he can do to save her life.
This movie brought a lot of buzz in South Korea due to its unconventional theme circling around intercultural marriage, the economic vulnerability of the disabled and stiff education system that primarily focuses on university entrance examinations.
It follows high-school student Do Wan-deuk (Yoo Ah-in) who lives with his hunchback father Jeong-bok (Park Su-yeong) and uncle Min-gu (Kim Young-jae).
His homeroom teacher Lee Dong-ju (Kim Yoon-seok) lives as his neighbour on the rooftop.
The movie circles around the student-teacher relationship between Wan-deuk and Dong-ju and how the latter inspires him to be a better person.
It is based on the novel Wandeuk by Kim Ryeo-ryeong which won the Changbi Prize for Young Adult Fiction in 2007.
9.The Himalayas (2015)
Um Hong-gil is the mountaineer known to be the first person to climb the 14 highest points on Earth.
This movie is inspired by his life, primarily focusing on his mentorship of two other climbers.
During a climb to Kangchenjunga, the third highest mountain in the world, Hong-gil saves the life of Park Moo-taek (Jung Woo) and his friend Park Jeong-bok (Kim In-kwon).
After that, he warns them never to climb mountains again. However when a new adventure project comes up, Moo-taek and Jeong-bok are recruited into the team.
At first Hong-gil refuses to allow the duo to join, but they would not give up. So, he has no choice to let them in.
After climbing the first mountain together, friendship forms between Hong-gil and Moo-taek.
Due to his injury, Hong-gil is not able to climb mountains again. Moo-taek then decides to form his own new team using the techniques he learned from Hong-gil.
When climbing Mount Everest, Moo-taek dies during the descent. The movie continues on how Hong-gil and his old crew go to the Himalayas to find Moo-taek’s body.
The characters in the movie are inspiring as they are based on real people. Hong-gil who against all odds, climbs mountain again despite his injury as well as Moo-taek who refuses to take ‘no’ as an answer.
10.A Barefoot Dream (2010)
Here is another movie based on inspiring real people. A Barefoot Dream (2010) is based on the true story of Kim Shin-hwan. He is a retired Korean footballer who goes to East Timor after his business fails. There he coaches a youth football team.
The main character Kim Won-kang (Park Hee-soon) is a former footballer who has more downs than ups in his life.
He migrates to East Timor, thinking that there will be more opportunities for him.
There, he sees a group of kids playing football with bare feet. So he opens up a sports equipment store thinking that he can sell football shoes to the children.
However, none of the children can afford the shoes. He then decides to teach the kids how to play football.
The motivational Korean film was the entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 83rd Academy Awards but it did not make the final shortlist.
Do you have other motivational Korean movies? Let us know in the comment box.