Animation / My Beautiful Girl Mari

My Beautiful Girl Mari (2002) is a critically acclaimed South Korean animated film. Written by Kang Su-jeong, Lee Seong-kang and Seo Mi-ae and directed by Lee Seong-kang with editing by Park Gok-ji and Cinematography by Kwon Geun-wook.

The story follows that of a fantasy format; following the protagonist Kim Nam-woo. Finding it difficult to cope as everyone in his life leaves him to pursue their interests such as his best friend, Jun-ho, who goes to study in Seoul. His widowed mother "leaves" him too by paying more attention to her new boyfriend. To escape it all, he creates an elaborate dream world, where he meets a girl named Mari. The story follows Nam-woo as he discovers himself and matures with the help of Mari.

The film also won Best Feature Film at the 26th Annecy International Animated Film Festival (Annecy, France).

This work contains examples of:

  • Cannot Spit It Out: Soog-y has a blatant, screaming crush on Jun-ho... but can't bring herself to admit it to him or anyone else.
  • The Fellowship Has Ended: The entire story leads up to this, with Nam-woo and Jun-ho enjoying their last summer together before the latter moves to Seoul.
  • Happy Place: Where Nam-woo goes to escape from his life.
  • The Magic Goes Away: On a more personal level, since Nam-woo and Jun-ho lose contact with the dream world forever after the lighthouse is destroyed.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Nam-woo's dream world may or may not have spilled over into reality and stopped the thunderstorm.
  • Sugar Bowl: With floating cotton-clouds and humongous white puppies.
  • Wild Child: Mari is a very mild case. She never speaks and rarely emotes, but is nonetheless gentle and caring.