Simon McEnteggart from the Korean movie review site Hanguk Yeonghwa gives his list of 5 Korean movies guaranteed to make you cry.

If there’s one thing modern Korean cinema does well, it’s crafting melodramas that force audiences to sob like a newborn baby. Directors within the industry have a knack for creating emotionally powerful films that resonate long after the credits have rolled, while certain actors and actresses have solidified their reputations as kings and queens of the genre. There are dozens of great titles to choose from, but here are five of the best Korean movies guaranteed to make you cry.

Ode to My Father

sad Korean movies guaranteed to make you cry ode to my fatherWhen Ode to My Father – also known as International Market – was released in winter 2014, it smashed box office records to become the second highest-grossing Korean film in the country’s cinematic history. It’s popularity was assured through the depiction of incredibly saddening moments in peninsula’s history following the Korean War, which had older audiences flocking to cinema screens in droves.

While the film glosses over the darker aspects of Korean history in favour of melodrama, Ode to My Father is a real tear-jerker – especially during scenes set during the 1980s. Click here to read the full review.

“the collective grief of TV show ‘Reuniting Separated Families’ is powerfully poignant.”
Maundy Thursday

sad Korean movies guaranteed to make you cry maundy thursdayMaundy Thursday is the rather odd English title for Our Happy Time, a powerful melodrama about a man on death row who comes to form an intimate bond with a young woman who regularly visits the prison. Played by superstars Kang Dong-won and Lee Na-young, the duo initially dislike each other during the meetings, however they gradually begin to form a powerful relationship where their traumatic histories come to light. As they share their suffering with each other, it’s truly impossible not to feel deeply moved by their bravery in the face of awful circumstances. Click here to read the review.

“a riveting delight, that exemplifies the importance of sharing sadness as well as happiness in the creation of love.”

sad korean moviesStarring Han Hyo-joo and So Ji-sub, Always is a classic romantic melodrama that will have fans of the genre weeping. Always was the opening film of the 2011 Busan International Film Festival, for which tickets sold out in a shocking seven seconds.

The film follows the lives of down-on-his-luck ex-boxer Cheol-min and blind telemarketer (Jung-hwa, who meet while working in the same building. The couple steadily grow increasingly closer as their lives become difficult, leading to a classic romance and a finale that will have fans sobbing. Click here to read the review.

“Fans of the romance genre will undoubtedly be delighted with Always as destiny intervenes to push the couple together”
You Are My Sunshine

sad Korean movies guaranteed to make you cry you are my sunshineAn interesting variation on the romance genre, You Are My Sunshine explores the life of a nice but unintelligent farmer who falls head over heels in love with a local prostitute. Despite her attempts to push the farmer away, his passion and devotion gradually win her heart. However, she holds a secret so large that it threatens to tear them apart forever.

The film stars Hwang Jung-min and Jeon Do-yeon, who display palpable chemistry on screen. Click here to read the review.

“an impressively effective and entertaining tear-jerker.”
A Moment to Remember

sad Korean movies guaranteed to make you cry a moment to rememberQuite possibly the greatest romantic melodrama ever created in Korean cinematic history, A Moment to Remember stars Son Ye-jin and Jung Woo-sung in a classic tale of a mismatched couple who become star-crossed lovers. However, their happily-ever-after story is ruined by the onset of early Alzheimer’s disease.

Su-jin (Son) initially beings to forget minor details, but the film becomes truly heart-breaking as the illness progresses, resulting in buckets full of tears by audiences. Click here to read the review.

“one of the most emotional and compelling romantic films committed to celluloid, and a truly poignant tale of love”

Of course, this is just a selection of the emotionally resonating films that the Korean film industry produces each year, so sign up to Hanguk Yeongwha for more updates.