Miss Granny (2014)
Directed by Dong-hyuk Hwang
Written by Dong-ik Shin, Yoon-jeong Hong, Hee-seon Dong, Dong-hyuk Hwang
Produced by Jae-soon Chun, Heung-seok Han, Ji-yeong Lim, Ji-yong Hong, Jae-pil Lee, Ji-sung Park, Tae-sung Jeong
Starring Eun-kyung Shim, Moon-hee Na, In-hwan Park, Jin-young Jung, Jin-wook Lee, Dong-il Sung, Jung-min Hwang
“If youth be a defect, it is one that we outgrow only too soon.”
–James Russell Lowell
Like all other truly civilized peoples, Koreans enjoy retrospection and aspiration equally, simultaneously whenever possible. Its dualistic satisfaction ensured the domestically remunerative and internationally resounding success of this comedy, wherein a sprightly, splenetic grandmother (Na) calloused from destitution is rejuvenated by the thaumaturgy of a magical photographer (Jang Gwang), and promptly, peppily pursues the vicenarian life she might’ve enjoyed when she was a pauperized single mother with a refreshed haircut and wardrobe as the passionate singer (Shim) of her grandson’s (Jung) rock band. Shim’s and Na’s resemblance and replication of their widow’s saucy, superannuated manner are indispensable to both this pic’s profuse humor and sentiment, as is her inattention in transition from anile to youthful identities of the social liberty she enjoys in her latter years, or of her landlord’s (Park) enduring affection when flirting with a handsome producer (Lee) who truly appreciates her monodic fervency in an era of rote K-pap. Seoul now produces plentifully a caliber of hilarity and hokum Hollywood hasn’t since the early ’90s, if only because its industry (powered by talent rather than rootless mediocrities and politicized pillocks) values true beauty and felicity, without regarding familial love, loyalty and sacrifice as mere abstractions existing only to further a plot. At its shameless soppiest, Granny‘s as moving as elsewhen funny, as irrepressibly frolic as its protagonist at either age. Remakes have since predictably followed as Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanese, Thai, Indonesian and Filipino transpositions, all inherently superior to godforsaken Big.