My Annoying Brother (Hyung) is a 2016 South Korean comedy, drama film starring Jo Jung-suk, Do Kyung-soo, and Park Shin-hye. It was released in South Korea by CJ Entertainment on November 23, 2016.The film was among the top films that was released in the same week and it hit more than 1 million views within 4 days from its release. The film reached 3 million views in mid December.
Korean movies are much more reliable than dramas, in a sense that there is always a certain standard of quality to them. K-movies go beyond your usual mother-in-law, revenge-taking story plots that many people mock K-dramas for, and are always well-received at film festivals. The cast, of course, is chosen much more carefully, and Hyung is no exception. A star-studded cast comprising of veteran actor Jo Jung-suk, idol actor Do Kyungsoo and the nation’s sister Park Shin Hye can offer no less than a spectacular performance and fantastic chemistry.
Personally, I have not watched any of Jo Jung-suk’s shows, but I’m a huge fan of Park Shin Hye and Do Kyungsoo. Park Shin Hye has a long list of famous works, including Pinocchio (with Lee Jong Suk) and the most recent Doctors, and her acting chops speaks for itself. Kyungsoo, on the other hand, is an idol from boyband EXO. His debut acting in It’s Okay, That’s Love, however, gave me goosebumps and made me cry buckets of tears. That’s how good he is. He also surprised many netizens since it was his first acting project, and killed the stereotype of idols being lousy actors.
The storyline was interesting as well, and hinted at a lot of comedy arising from the interactions between the two brothers. Oh boy, how wrong I was.
Plot – Having a good plot sounds like such a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised at how many shows just let the plot die by the end of the climax. You might be fooled into thinking that’ll be some sort of love line in this movie, judging by the presence of one female character in the midst of two guys (I know, so far-fetched), but thankfully there was none, or the plot would have just fallen flat.
I loved how a lot of things built up over time, and how the brothers grew to accept, understand, then love each other again. There was no flinching in their conflicts, only wincing, which helped them to face a lot of their unhappiness and anger in their lives.
Characters – It did feel a bit typical, having the brothers being extremes – the older brother (Doo-shik) just got out of jail, and the younger brother (Doo-young) was once an Olympic hopeful. Thankfully, Jung-suk and Kyungsoo worked miracles in their roles, and didn’t push their characters to extremes. There was softness in the older brother’s face as he tried to teach his dongsaeng how to pick up women, softness in the younger boy’s eyes as he heard how the brother he once resented felt like he had to run away from home. The emotions were subtle, but they made all the difference.
Ending – It was predictable, but unavoidable. The cancer diagnosis was made known halfway through the movie, and all you need to do in the later half was to try not and cry whenever you see Doo-shik making preparations so that Doo-young could live on well without a brother by his side. As an (extremely emotional) audience, it also hurts to know that there is no happy ending for these brothers after all the work they put in to heal themselves and heal one another. Finishing this made me feel very empty inside, as though I was really grieving for Doo-shik’s absence in Doo-young’s life.
No happy ending?
I had high hopes for this, and I was not disappointed at all. I laughed and cried so much watching this movie that I felt like I was on an emotional rollercoaster throughout the whole movie, but I still have no regrets about it.
Like I mentioned earlier, subtlety was the best game they played in this performance. Even towards the end when Doo-young was devastated having known about his brother’s cancer only minutes before his Paralympic finals, he still joked about picking up Brazilian women and then asked in sadness, “Does it hurt a lot?” That one sentence alone could convey so much, and that’s when you know you have an award-winning formula of actors and script. I’m truly hoping My Annoying Brother wins an award, because a good movie like this should be duly recognized for hitting all the right notes.
Must-watch? Definitely. It also doesn’t hurt to watch this a few more times even if you already know the ending.