My Mother the Mermaid (2004)

Director: Park Heung Sik
Casts: Jeon Do Yeon, Park Hae Il, Ko Du Shim, and Kim Bu Seon
Genre: Fantasy and Drama
Running Time: 110 minutes

Na Young (Jeon Do Yeon) is sick and tired of her nagging mother and sensitive father. A few days before her first overseas trip, her father leaves home without any notice. Her mother doesn’t care and advises Na Young not to look for her father. Na Young decides to give up her trip and look for her father instead. When she arrives at her parents’ hometown, Na Young is shocked to find that she has brought herself back in time where her mother lived 30 years ago. She meets her 20-year-old mother, Yeon Soon (Jeon Do Yeon) who looks like her. Na Young finds out about her mother’s ‘girl next door’ and outgoing personality which is totally different from her current demeanour. Na Young stays with her mother, Yeon Soon, and finds out that her first love is a young postman. That postman is her father, Jin Kook (Park Hae Il). Within that time period, Na Young explores the love relationship between her mother and father.

The idea of having Na Young in a time where her parents met and love is truly sweet and magical. This film is mostly focused on Na Young’s parents’ love story. Na Young sees her mother’s crush on her father and how their love blooms from being strangers to close friends to lovebirds. The love storyline doesn’t go out of place and keeps the audiences focus on the couple who encounter happiness and conflicts. On the other hand, the couple are in a ‘teacher and student’ mode where Jin Kook teaches Yeon Soon how to read and write. It is quite interesting to see how she was so concentrated and feels thankful to learn something. It reminded me of how I am currently learning the Korean language.

Jeon Do Yeon perfectly portrays the two roles while having two different personalities and accent. It makes me wonder how she can do that just like Lee Byung Hun who had also portrayed two roles in ‘Masquerade’. I was able to see the difference between Na Young’s sensitive and caring personality and Yeon Soon’s outgoing personality. My first impression towards Jeon Do Yeon in this film is that she is a cheerful person with a strong heart. At such a young age, I could see just how she has managed to become a great actress. This is why she has become one of ‘The Year of 4 Actors’. I’m curious to see how much her acting skills have developed from a young age till now.

The film’s storyline shows the moral of the story: sometimes within each person’s heart, they truly care for others even though they are shy to reveal their feelings. On the other hand, even though sometimes our parents are annoying when it comes to nagging, they are still our parents who care for us. I could imagine bringing myself back in time to how my parents met, love, married, and become my parents. For Na Young, it’s a realisation of her mother’s hard time during her younger days. Also, how her father truly cares for her mother especially when he commits his time and effort in teaching her Korean. Her mother is truly the mermaid who has a pure and strong heart with confidence.

Rating: 7/10

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