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Secret Sunshine aka Milyang (2007)

Song Kang-ho , Jeon Do-yeon , Lee Chang-dong  |  R |  DVD
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)

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Secret Sunshine (English Subtitled)   -- --

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Multi-Format The Criterion Collection $25.24  
DVD 1-Disc Version $18.96  
  1-Disc Version $19.90  
Region 3 encoding (This DVD will not play on most DVD players sold in the US or Canada [Region 1]. This item requires a region specific or multi-region DVD player and compatible TV. More about DVD formats.)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Song Kang-ho, Jeon Do-yeon, Jo Yeong-jin, Kim Yeong-jae, Seon Jeong-Yeob
  • Directors: Lee Chang-dong
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Import, NTSC
  • Language: Korean (Dolby Digital 5.1 ES Matrix)
  • Subtitles: Chinese, English
  • Region: Region 3 (Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Panorama
  • DVD Release Date: July 1, 2008
  • Run Time: 144 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001B1T7EM
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #483,482 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

When her husband passes away after getting into a car accident, Shin-ae and her son June relocate down south to her late husband's hometown of Miryang. Despite her efforts to settle down in this unfamiliar but "much too normal place," she finds that she can't quite fit in. She opens a new piano academy and makes attempts to mingle with the neighbors, but nothing works. Life goes on as she gains piano students with the help of a bachelor and car repair shop owner, Kim Jong-chan. Though they met on Shin-ae's first day in Miryang, she actually finds Kim a nuisance. Meanwhile, June seems to be adapting to enrollment at the oratory speech academy fine. Unfortunately, Shin-ae's life is turned upside down when fate intervenes and she loses her son in the most horrific way a mother could imagine. She turns to Christianity to relieve the pain in her heart, but when even this is not permitted, she wages a personal war against God.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
Criterion has scored another winner with the acquisition of the intense Korean drama "Secret Sunshine." Director Lee Chang-dong has assembled a multi-layered film propelled by a stunning lead performance by Cannes Best Actress Jeon Do-yeon. In an age where few films explore religion from a contemporary standpoint, this is a critical and thoughtful examination of faith, tragedy, grief, forgiveness and perseverance. What starts as a rather pleasant and joyful film morphs into a thriller before it changes tone once again to searing human drama. The director shows a deft hand transforming lightness into the heart of darkness and delivering the viewer to the other side. Complex, challenging, and emotionally devastating--I hope the Criterion release will raise awareness of this remarkably adult entertainment.

A young widow (Do-yeon) and her son relocate to her late husband's hometown Miryang (Secret Sunshine). Starting fresh, she starts to tutor piano and is assisted by a potential new suitor. The details of her new world are expertly showcased and there is a realistic flavor to the scenes of every day life in this small town. But just as she has settled into a daily routine, tragedy strikes. After an intense sequence of events, she is left devastated and bereft. I know many people will reveal more of the plot than I will, but I think it's best to let the narrative unravel without expectation. Seeking solace, she throws herself into spirituality and uses the church to fill the emptiness of her life. The need to forgive and the need to hate do battle within her soul and the last hour of the picture is a war of emotion. Is there a way to reconcile these divergent feelings and is the church a help or a hindrance?
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars lies, lies, lies December 24, 2007
This is truly extraordinary and wonderful film, profound and profoundly depressing, and a perfect antidote to the delusions and falsehood of Hollywood. It exemplifies what makes contemporary Korean cinema so compelling: a willingness to explore human suffering without the promise of redemption --- political, spiritual, or aesthetic. The last shot of the film says it all. And the lead actresses performance was amazing: she seemed so fully consumed by her role that she became a new person as her character changed.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply fantastic January 2, 2008
I recently saw this movie while working in Jinju, S.Korea, about 30 minutes from where this takes place. This movie is an accurate portrait of life in a mid-sized Korean city. It is ambiguous in the best sense of the word: critical of religion while not condemning. A portrait of exactly how one copes with the most horrible tragedy. The lead actress won a Cannes award for her performance and she deserves it. She is in turns funny, sad and pious, all shown in a perfectly measured, never exaggerated performance. This movie is unique and recommended without the slightest reservation.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best film I've seen that deals with Religion May 23, 2013
By Colby
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
I enjoy psychological films. I like seeing characters undergo psychological changes. Those types of films entertain me, even change my views of the world sometimes.

Secret Sunshine is one such film. In it a woman experiences a set of major events that send her spiraling into a psychological downfall, then up through enlightenment, then, finally, she falls deeper and deeper until true enlightenment is possible.

I don't want to spoil anything for those of you who haven't seen this yet, so I'll keep it brief. The woman loses her husband and then moves to his hometown with her son, hoping to start over. Once there she is greeted by a local neighbor who tells her that the only way to be truly happy is to find God, join the church, and become a religious citizen. She is hesitant, explaining that she doesn't believe in such things.

A few more things happen (I'm refraining from saying for spoilers sake) and she decides to join the church, finding God and weeping in an emotional scene (the actress does a wonderful job here, as well as throughout the entire film) which leads to her apparent happiness.

But not everything is as it seems...and when the woman decides to apply one of God's teachings to her daily life, the results aren't what she had expected. She falls into darkness once again, this time at a frightening speed.

What happens after this can only be witnessed by watching the film, since I don't want to give away any more.

Secret Sunshine is a masterpiece of psychological cinema. It takes a step back and examines how Religion can affect a human life, both positively and negatively, and the film isn't afraid of pulling punches. This is an emotionally draining film, but I found the ending to be truly enlightening.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Lee Chang-Dong is a film professor turned director who is responsible for such acclaimed hits such as the fantastic "Peppermint Candy", the touching "Oasis" and "Green Fish". He has also been appointed as Korea's minister of culture and tourism at one point but has abandoned this post to concentrate on his filmmaking. This director has, on several occasions has managed to silence my voice because of the powerful portrayal of life in his films; it just strikes a chord in me and gets under my skin. "SECRET SUNSHINE" is no different, the film has won numerous awards and was given high praise in Cannes (Jeon Do-Yeon won best actress). It also enjoyed a phenomenal audience reaction in its limited run in America. The film is controversial; and it presents a very bleak view of Religion, Faith and (maybe?) brings up questions about the existence of God.

When her husband passes away after a car accident, Shin-Ae (Jeon Do-Yeon) and her son, Jun relocate down South to her husband's hometown of Miryang. She attempts to settle down by opening a small piano school and yet she finds that she can't fit in this unfamiliar but "very normal" place. Life goes on as she gains piano students with the aid of a car repair shop owner, Kim Jong-Chan (Song Kang-Ho, Sympathy of Mr. Vengeance) despite the fact that she finds his attentions to be nuisance. Her son, Jun seems to be adapting quite well to their new life but fate intervenes; their lives are turned upside-down when her son becomes a victim of a fatal kidnapping.
Shin-Ae turns to Christianity to relieve her pain and anger, but when something occurs that makes her question her faith, she begins to rebel against God.

Christianity has made quite an impact in South Korea the past several years.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great movie!
Everything perfect!
Published 2 days ago by ZARA
4.0 out of 5 stars Well acted Korean drama...
I found this to be a well made and well acted film focusing on grief, loss, faith, and recovery. Nice portrayal of South Korean culture and the strong Christian population there,... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Peter A. Johnson
5.0 out of 5 stars The ground beneath her feet
Milyang is a town like anywhere else in South Korea.Its Chinese translation is "secret sunshine". Lee Chang-dong's Secret Sunshine (2007) is a film about an average town,but its an... Read more
Published 6 months ago by technoguy
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best movies I have ever seen
Jeon Do Yeon is second-to-none as an actress in my opinion, and this is the movie that proves it. The male lead, Song Kang Ho, does just as good a job as Ms. Jeon. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Hamilton Donald
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 1/2 stars for Secret Sunshine
Yesterday, I watched the 2007 Criterion Collection film "Secret Sunshine" by South Korean director Lee Chang-dong. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Kurt H.
1.0 out of 5 stars The product does not play on my DVD Player - it says that it is not...
The product does not play on my DVD Player - it says that it is not compatible with this Country or territory. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Jonathan Helmbold
1.0 out of 5 stars Secret Sunshine DVD unplayable
The DVD disc of this movie was unplayble. Completely deteriorated. Luckily I had the earlier Korean version which played just fine. Shame on you Criterion.
Published 16 months ago by Fredericka
4.0 out of 5 stars Secret Sunshine is an amazing drama complimented by its superb...
Secret Sunshine follows Shin-Ae (Jeon Do-yeon) as she moves into the small town of Milyang, South Korea, with her child to start a new life; her new journey starts off well, but is... Read more
Published 19 months ago by Jonathan
4.0 out of 5 stars Secret Sunshine
This film was difficult to watch and suitable for mature audiences. It deals honestly with human pain and issues of Christian faith. Really thought provoking.
Published 23 months ago by WB
4.0 out of 5 stars Criterion's first Korean film since the 1990's
This film, "Secret Sunshine" known in South Korea is "Milyang" or "Miryang" is the first Korean film Criterion has released since its laserdisc releases from 1984 to 1998. Read more
Published on March 1, 2012 by Ted
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English subtitle?
I want this movie! I heard it was great! >.<
Apr 28, 2011 by Miranda A. |  See all 2 posts
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