Loosely based on her real-life story as a producer for film maestro Hong Sang-soo, Cho-hee Kim debuts as director with a romantic-comedy drama that explores existential questions of a life crisis while winking at the filmmaking industry and film-enthusiast.
Work = life
In her 40s film producer Chan-sil sees her dreams die in front of her, as the director with whom she collaborated for years dies. Coming to terms with her new jobless reality and not knowing what to do next, as she dedicated all her life to working, Chan-sil moves to a small room in a shared house where she reconnects with herself and receives visits of Leslie Cheung’s ghost. As she sets a goal to find a love interest and re-evaluate her life, she discovers more about her strange elderly landlady (Yuh-Jung Youn).
Cinephile’s inside jokes
Thanks to self-reflective jokes about the filmmaking world and the profound life-questions that arise from regular day-to-day situations, Lucky Chan-sil achieves to address existential topics in a quirky way. A mature film that deals with questions of happiness, loneliness, human connection, and finding and pursuing one’s purpose in life, where there are second chances.
From finding a new job to a new love, Chan-sil’s trajectory is a relatable one. But especially for people in the filmmaking industry. It’s a sweet homage to the people who produce films and their struggles to achieve what they are passionate about with numerous inside jokes and references for the cinephile’s pleasure.
Similar to a coming-of-age film, the protagonist develops throughout the film and goes along with the film’s pace and character of Chan-sil. Divided between societal expectations surrounding her age, and her inner passion, Chan-sil struggles to move forward. It’s a divide between the actions that she ‘’should” take, according to society and her non-conventional burning desire.
Starting with the lowest point of her life, as her sole collaborator dies, Chan-sil sees how the people that are around her care for her now that she has time to reflect upon this. Through these interactions and re-evaluation, Chan-sil learns the value of the relationships around her and what her heart desires to do.
The unstoppable energy of the protagonist and funny fantasy-filled interactions entangled with quirky dialogues offer a charming watch.
Besides the latter, the cast sparks lifelong friends’ chemistry between them, including the support from Oscar-winner Yuh-Jung Youn (Minari). Completing the entire picture, the music sets the indie vibe through its Korean songs and upbeat cheery music.
Overall, Lucky Chan-sil’s energy, hope and existential life observations provide a feel-good story that feels private and at the same time relatable.