Directed by Song Hae-Sung
Comedy / Drama, 112′
Funny, sweet and uncomfortably close to the reality of complicated familial relationships, ‘Boomerang Family’ will have you cheering for the most immature family to grace the screen.
This expertly directed, subtly hilarious black comedy boasts a host of Korea’s best stars. With Park Hae-Il, Yoon Jae-Moon, Gong Hyo-Jin, Jin Ji-he, and Yoon Yeo-Jeong as the family matriarch, ‘Boomerang Family’ is celebrated director Song Hae-Sung’s latest offering.
The film revolves around a family that is dysfunctional at best, with a freeloading gangster of an oldest son, a disillusioned cynic as the middle son and a twice-divorcee for the youngest daughter. Throw in a rude, inconsiderate granddaughter and a somewhat hapless matriarch and you’ve got a family made almost entirely of the black sheep other families like to ignore.
The film kicks off with In-Mo, the second son, moving back in with his mother and Han-mo, the eldest son who lives with her. The brothers do not get along, to say the least, a situation that is further exacerbated when their newly twice divorced younger sister, Min-yun moves home as well, along with her fifteen-year old daughter, Min-kyung.
To say the family does not make a good impression is an understatement. The Oh family are loud, rude, somewhat callous and often physical with one another but, at the end of the day, they willingly band together against any one who hurts them. The film follows them as they tumble through the complications that come from three grown siblings living in a small apartment as they try to find some way to get back on their feet.
What is truly beautiful about the film is that you can clearly see the relationships the three siblings might have had growing up. The chemistry between the actors is so real, you can’t tell if they are really related or not.
The family’s (and film’s) relationship with food should also be noted. The dinner table is somewhere they gather around and eat, even if just minutes before they had been fighting. You know that the family is in real trouble when they don’t sit down to eat together.
Watch out for Youn Jae-Moon as Oh Han-mo, the oldest of the three siblings. While thoroughly dislikeable at first, as the film progresses, you are introduced to hidden depths that will end with you rooting for him. And Yoon Yeo-jeong’s subtly charming performance as the overwhelmed matriarch of the family is expertly done.
If there is any criticism to be levelled at ‘Boomerang Family’, it’s that it doesn’t show us enough. Min-yun’s story is woefully skimmed over so that while we know enough to like her as a character, we don’t know much more. The relationship between mother and daughter, daughter and granddaughter is also not expounded on much.
This, however, doesn’t detract from the film’s appeal. If you’re looking for a simple laugh-a-minute comedy, this isn’t the film for you. But you should watch it anyway—the moments of hilarity will take you by surprise, which, in my opinion, is one of the best ways to make people laugh.
In the end, ‘Boomerang Family’ offers plenty of laughs in its own uniquely black way, interspersed liberally with moments that will touch you and make you ache in the best possible way. A worthy watch for any comedy fan—or even non-comedy fans like me.