October 21, 2020

A Werewolf Boy | Korean Movie Review

Original poster

Film Synopsis


Summoned by an unexpected phone call, an elderly woman visits a cottage she used to go to when she was a girl to teach a wild boy how to behave as a human being. Memories of an orphan boy she knew 47 years ago come flooding back to her.


About this film


A Werewolf Boy is a 2012 South Korean fantasy romance film in which a beautiful teenage girl (Park Bo-young) was sent to the countryside because of her health. She met a feral boy (Song Joong-ki) and be friends with him - even the beast inside him is constantly waiting to burst out.

The initial release of this film is on 31 October 2012 in South Korea. Director Jo Sung-hee started to write this script while he was studying at the Korean Academy of Film Arts and the script went through several rewrites before it was finalized. A Werewolf Boy is basically Director Jo's commercial debut. This movie has quickly climbed up the box office charts to become the most successful Korean melodrama of all time.

Based on an interview, the director reveals that the original synopsis was quite different from the final screenplay. In the original synopsis, the roles were reversed between the woman and the guy. Also, the story was way more tragic. In order to make a commercial film, they swap the character's behavior and changed the ending. For the ending scene, they held several meetings and talked about many possible versions with the elderly Soon-Yi.

 

The werewolf boy


Song Joong-ki plays the role of the werewolf boy (Chul-soo) in this film. Chul-soo is a feral (wild) child because he has been isolated from human contact from a very young age. He doesn't know how to behave like a human being and can't socialize like a normal person. 

Soon Yi pat Chul soo's head

Chul-soo falls in love with the first and only girl, Soon-Yi who has ever treated him with such affection. Even after the next few decades, he did not forget his first love and faithfully waiting for Soon-Yi to come back to him.


Movies plot


Kim Soon-Yi, an elderly woman living in the US in her sixties receives an unexpected call about the sale of her old family home back in South Korea. She returns to her homeland and met by her granddaughter Eun-Joo.

They drive back to the house in a remote valley and Soon-Yi starts to recall her memories of 47 years ago when she was a 17-year old girl in 1965. She moved from Seoul along with her widowed mother and sister Sun-ja to undergo a period of rehabilitation after suffering problems with her lungs.

The family lived in courteous poverty at the mercy of their arrogant landlord, Ji-Tae, son of the business partner of Soon-Yi's late father. The beautiful yet introverted teenage girl Soon-Yi lives an isolated life without any friends because of her health problems.

One day, Soon-Yi bumps into a feral boy of about 19 in their yard. The boy acts wildly and he can neither speak nor read. Soon-Yi's kindhearted mother adopts him despite he behaves like a wild beast and names him Chul-soo. She assumes him as one of more than 60,000 orphaned children in the Korean War.

Soon-Yi doesn't like Chul-soo at first because she considers him a nuisance but eventually, she is having fun taming him according to a dog-training manual. She teaches him how to behave like a human being like how to wait patiently during mealtime, how to put dishes in the sink, writing, how to tie shoes, and other human behavior so that one day he could live like a normal man.

Chul-soo starts to demonstrate solid loyalty to her after he keeps getting affection every time he obeys Sonn-Yi's instructions. The two eventually become close as Soon-Yi opens her heart to Chul-soo and cause the arising envy of Ji-Tae, who lusts after Soon-Yi.

But their relationship is bound with hassles as Ji-tae begins to cause trouble. Chul-soo lets the beast inside him to burst out when he feels threatened and the villagers start to turn on him. In order to save the boy who constantly risked his life to be with her, Soon-Yi leaves him in the wood with a promise note: "Wait for me. I'll come back to you."

In the present day, Soon-Yi walks into the shed to find Chul-soo sitting in there, still looking young as he was 47 years ago. He hands her the note that she wrote and she realizes that he's been waiting all along. He reads her a book she had ever asked him to read all those years ago, as she fells asleep. 

She wakes up the next day with Chul-soo nowhere to be sight and then leaves the house with her granddaughter. Soon-Yi receives a call asking about the property. She tells him that she's not going to sell the place. Chul-soo watches from afar as the car drives away. 

A sequence in the ending post-credits shows Chul-soo is alone building a snowman.


Does A Werewolf Boy has a happy ending?


A Werewolf Boy doesn't have a happy ending but it isn't a tragic ending. More like a bittersweet, I think? I personally preferred the alternate ending as being said rather than the original version knowing that Chul-soo actually waits for her for freaking 47 years. Patiently. Desperately. With the same clothes. All alone. 

Soon Yi comes back to Chul soo

But Chul-soo doesn't blame her for making him wait for decades and he just keeps his promise when they met again. When I watch him rolling the snowballs to make a snowman in the post-credit scene, I just think that's Chul-soo. He is just what he is. 

The ending is still rather ambiguous and there are so many unsolved questions. It leaves us wondering if the elderly Soon-Yi comes back to him after refusing to sell the house. And why does Chul-so making the snowman all by himself in the sequence ending? How did he live his life all this while? How did he learn to speak and read books without anyone there to teach him? But most importantly, why the woman didn't go back to him?!

Nonetheless, although the film has a very cheery and heartwarming air to it, the climax and ending plots remind me that although it's a fantasy movie, it's still realistic. 


A Werewolf Boy alternate ending


Director Jo revealed that they had shot an alternate ending for this movie due to the popular demand. This movie was re-released on 6 December 2012 with that alternate ending. The alternate ending is being said that it involves Soon-Yi and among the deleted scenes are moments from Ji-tae's childhood as well as more focus on the unfold plots of the neighborhood. But I don't know if this is true since I never watch it yet.

However, I've been looking everywhere for the alternate ending versions but there's nowhere to be found. I just found some links pointed to the clips of the alternate ending but they all seem to be removed or deleted for some reason. [If someone happens to know where to watch the alternate versions, please comment below. Curiosity kills me tho]. You can just assume that I already give up looking for it haha.

Anyway, I've read somewhere from a person who has already watched it, the person said that in the alternate ending, Soon-Yi finds Chul-soo in the room and suddenly she becomes young again. The camera follows above them when they hug each other and the room glows as if they are in a dream. The next morning, she wakes up to find the room dark and dingy, as if no one had been in it for years. She appeared to be old again and realizes that Chul-soo is gone as if it is all a dream. 

But still, the alternate version would just leave us as many unanswered questions like, where did Chul-soo go after being abandoned by Soon-Yi in the forest? Is Chul-soo still alive? Is Chul-soo still waiting for her? And more. I was just hoping that in the alternate ending, she won't leave him all alone.


My personal review on A Werewolf Boy


I didn't plan to write anything about this film at first but the reasons why I happen to put my words into this 'discussion' are because:

  • The ENDING is completely heart-wrenching like, dude, don't leave me hanging there. I want a basically significant clear ending and I don't care if it is the most tragic scene I'll ever watch. There are so many curious souls in the world who need answers, you know.
  • Despite the absolutely annoying ending, I still cry like a jerk. Especially during the 'Kajima' (don't go) scene, Chul-soo desperately didn't want Soon-Yi to leave him but she did it anyway in order to save him. I think the words Kajima will portray a very intense meaning for me now. Kajima. Kajima. 
Chul soo says 'Kajima' (don't go) to Soon Yi
*the delivery of Chul soo's Kajima killsssss

  • Song Joong-ki plays the lead role. I actually watch this movie just to watch him playing other roles because I just can't move on from Captain Yoo Shi-jin. What's more interesting is that he actually doesn't have any lines for most parts of the film. Throughout the movie, he literally says nothing. But when he does speak, my heart sank. 

Basically, this film is about two people who found something in one another that filled the void in their lives but it totally screwed my idea of a love story. It's a love story that is not even a love story because it is more of a pet story.  To me, werewolf Chul soo is just loyal to the person he has decided to make as the core of his universe while human Soon Yi struggles to keep him by her side because he is a bloody..... dangerous......... pet. 

The genre is fantasy, as you can see, it's a story about a werewolf. A girl makes a remarkable discovery in her own backyard, where she finds a wild boy. The family takes him in believing he is just an abandoned orphan with very little social skills. And the boy begins to have an interest in a girl in which he receives so much affection.

It's kinda cute when the girl decides to teach the werewolf Chul soo based on a dog-training manual. She begins the training by teaching him how to wait for something as in table manners, and she continues with brushing teeth, make up the bed, tying shoes, write, speak, and many more. She's very delicate to turn him into a normal human being. The girl Suni would also reward him with a gentle pat on his head whenever he does something correctly like, ''clever boy!". 

Let me present to you, the adorable most docile werewolf on earth, the gorgeous Chul soo:

the pretty gorgeous Song Joong ki
[don't you just hate it when this man always looks prettier than you?!]

Song Joong-ki barely pronounces a word in the movie, yet he still shows such devotion and manages to touch the ground of my heart with his delicate facial expressions and body language of a werewolf boy character. He earnestly plays the role making us completely believe that he is the spirit of that character even in real life. I would volunteer myself to replace Suni to go back to him. Pretty boy, don't wait for her. 

Anyway, this is Chul soo when the Kims family first discover him in their yard:

the werewolf boy, Chul soo first discovered
He really got the spirit...

With those eyes, he made me feels scared, cried eagerly, and laugh (he's cute tho - there are few scenes I had to replay again and again just to digest his glorious cuteness). If anyone dares to chain him to bed and put a metal lock around his neck again (filming or not), you are going to be suffered to death

What tears my heart into a million pieces is that Suni abandoned him in the forest and she does not... come..... back. It's truly an overly long wait for Chul-soo but he still demonstrates the same loyalty towards her. The fact that the well-said alternate ending doesn't really change a thing, I prefer the original ending despite it still got me frustrated.

I suppose life sometimes can be like this - you simply have to appreciate every glimpses or snippet of absolute happiness because you will not realize those were the best of moments ever until they are actually gone.

At first, I thought the storyline would be more or less like twilight like, they're getting married, living happily ever after but it's not. People are so quick to make a comparison between this film and twilight because... there's a werewolf. When they end their story like this, it makes people keep thinking and think and think and think again and literally keeps thinking more of all the possibilities that the writer should have come up with. This movie could have been more perfectly ended than it already did. 

I'm glad I was curious about this movie and I just watch it even it's been too late for me to watch. I recommend you to watch this movie if you haven't yet and let's burst out a lot of tears together. If you like a romance and tear-jerking movie, just watch this.

15 comments:

Dila Faizal said...

Hi sis, follow sini ya

Sis Lin said...

Dah tengok dah filem ni..tak suka ending dan pertengahan cerita, kesian dan sedih...
Kalau laa betul yee ada realiti macam ni, acaner lee ekkk

nurul aqidah azahar said...

filem lama ni..dah tengok. sedih..huhu. menangis tgk filem ni. masa ni la pelakon song joongki mula naik

Ruby said...

Diantara filem yang sedih dan akak tak suka pengakhiran cerita ni. Benciiii nangis nangis tengok drama Korea. Sembab muka pi kerja. Hahaha

Tiara Sapphire said...

dah tengok movie ni sebab ada song joongki tapi saya tak minat citer macam ni..haha

LampuHijau said...

Song Joong Ki is so cuteeeee 😍😍😍😍😍! I like him since his drama The Innocent Man and everytime he has a new drama/movie, I just can't move on to potray him as Kang Ma Roo in The Innocent Man. Still, I don't like much melodrama genre as it always leave me with questions

Rollinggrace said...

this is such a fun and informative review! feel like watching now

Kitkat Nelfei said...

Another movie that I need to include in my watch list la... Interesting but the ending based on your review not something that I like too.. Will see!

shamiera osment said...

I remember watching this movie past few years but really not happy with the ending. Maybe I should watch the alternative ending, never now it exist! Haha

Nadia Johari said...

Banyaknya cerita korea.. Sampai tak tau nak tgk yang mana dulu.. Tapi kita uska tgk yang kelaka2.. Taknak tgk sedih2.. Hehehe

Zaza Azman said...

dah lama tengok cite ni.. boleh la juga cerita dia tapi kesian kat budak tu masa kecik2..

HI Apakata Mommy said...

dah lama dah movie ni. tapi tak pernah pun tengok dari mula sampai habis

Ummi said...

Perhaps I have a sadistic streak in me but I love tragic endings. Sometimes I skip the ending if I know it's going to be another predictable happily ever after cliche.

edahyukarim said...

Memang best cerita ni, eventhough heavy..comel dua2 😍

Tekkaus said...

This looks really interesting. Too bad the ending is not really a happy one huh. Guess I am going to give this a skip.