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Film / Sunny

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Sunny is a 2011 film about a group of old high school friends reuniting as per one's dying wish.

Im Na-mi is a woman nearing middle-aged. Despite her wealth and family, she does not feel happy. She can't help but notice her age and this upsets her. After visiting her mother in the hospital, Na-mi starts having memories of high school in The '80s. In the current day, it turns out that one of Na-mi's childhood friends, Ha Chun-hwa, is in the same hospital as her mother and is dying from terminal cancer. Chun-hwa's wish is to see their high school group of friends, which they had dubbed "Sunny", again. This causes Na-mi to hire a private detective in order to find the other members of Sunny.

Sunny was well-acclaimed and was one of the Top 5 highest grossing films in South Korea of 2011. The film was so popular that several Foreign Remakes were made. More specifically an official Vietnamese and Japanese remake has been released, an unofficial Hong Kong TV show was inspired by the film, and an American Hollywood remake is in the works.


Sunny provides examples of:

  • Aloof Dark-Haired Girl: Everyone has dark hair, but Jung Su-ji as a high schooler fits the trope. She was aloof and mysterious.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Chun-hwa. In the 80s, Su-ji accuses her of being in love with Na-mi due to her special treatment. Chun-hwa never actually denies it, she just gets mad at her. And in the present day, she's unmarried.
  • Awful Wedded Life: Jin-hee married rich, but her husband often cheats on her and she's forced to suppress her dirty mouth in order to fit in with the other rich socialites.
  • Back for the Finale: Present day Su-ji finally shows up at the end of the movie after the rest of the gang fail to find her for the reunion.
  • Beware the Quiet Ones: Su-ji. She kicks down Sang-mi and almost burns her face when the latter threatens to kill the members of Sunny and begins hurting Na-mi. Na-mi stops her, but the damage to Sang-mi's mental state is done.
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  • Bittersweet Ending: Both time periods. The past ends with the girls being forced apart after being expelled from their high school, but swearing that they'll always remain Sunny and that they'll meet again. The present and movie end at Chun-hwa's funeral. But Chun-hwa's will reveals that she left something for each member of the group to improve their life in some way. The girls are finally able to perform their dance and Su-ji arrives to complete the group again.
  • Breaking the Fellowship: Sunny is forced apart when the girls are expelled from their school.
  • Bully Hunter: In the present, Na-mi goes with three other members of Sunny to beat down the girls that are bullying her daughter.
  • Cheerful Funeral: Choon-Hwa's funeral is celebrated by her reunited high school friends dancing to "Sunny" by Boney M. at her wake.
  • Corporal Punishment: Done at the girls' high school.
  • Country Mouse: Na-Mi when she first moves to Seoul.
  • Cultural Cross-Reference: There's a lot of references to American 1980s pop culture and fashion. This is because in the '80s there was such a fad about America in Korea.
  • Descent into Addiction: Sang-mi shows up to the festival extremely high and frazzled, no longer hiding her glue sniffing addiction.
  • Dirty Coward: The leader of the rival gang, "Girls' Generation".
  • Genius Bruiser: Geum-ok was a smart student and also very quick to hit someone if they were messing with her friends.
  • Hate at First Sight: Su-ji is initially cold to Na-mi when they first meet. It's eventually revealed that Su-ji's stepmother is from the same place as Na-mi and even has the same accent. Once the two get drunk together, they become friends.
  • Hooker with a Heart of Gold: Bok-hee, who became a prostitute due to her mother losing the salon and then needing to support her daughter at the orphanage.
  • Love Hurts: Na-mi experiences this with her first love, Joon-ho. It turns out he was in love with Su-ji, who reciprocated.
  • Proud Beauty: Su-ji and Bok-hee in the 80s, the former making a career out of it and the latter dreaming of becoming Miss Korea. Su-ji actually attempts suicide when her face is slashed by Sang-mi.
  • Putting the Band Back Together: The main plot of the present day.
  • New Transfer Student: Na-mi was one in high school. She was initially bullied for her rural-esque accent and fashion sense.
  • Nice Guy: Joon-ho, which is why Na-mi falls in love with him.
  • Rousing Speech: Chun-hwa gives one to the girls after Su-ji is put in the hospital and the gang is expelled from their high school.
  • Sir Swears-a-Lot: Hwang Jin-hee's defining feature is that she curses a lot.
  • Smoking Is Glamorous: Su-ji.
  • Starving Artist: In the present, Geum-ok is forced to live with her sister's family due to her writing career not taking off.
  • The '80s: A good chunk of the film takes place in the form of flashbacks mainly set in 1980.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Chun-hwa and Sang-mi. It ended because Chun-hwa hated Sang-mi's addiction to sniffing glue.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: The credits. Jang-mi becomes a successful life insurance agent, Geum-ok became executive director of Chun-hwa's publishing company, Bok-hee opened her own hair salon with her daughter and designed it exactly like her mother's, Su-ji is revealed to have opened up her own bookstore, and Na-mi married off her daughter and remained the leader of Sunny to the very end.
  • Your Days Are Numbered: Chun-hwa only has around two months left.