Ode to My Father
This is a brother, a son, and a husband’s journey in giving out all he has for his family. A very endearing and touching film about a man’s sacrifices in his dream to fulfill his promise to his father.
In present day Korea, a hot tempered grandpa refuses to sell an old store he was tending against the push he’s getting from his fellow store owners and his children who can well provide for him and his wife.
Spending time with his granddaughter he went a trip down the memory lane and look back to his life in the past. Forced to evacuate their hometown, Yoo Duk-soo and his family painstakingly walked their way to chance upon boarding a ship to escape the 1950 Korean war. He held on to his younger sister but climbing on the ship he lost his sister when a stranger pulled her down while she was on his back. His father went back to search for her as the hurrying ship departed from the port leaving Duk-soo a promise to take care of his mother and younger siblings. They reached his aunt’s house in Busan and has worked odd jobs to support the family.
When a job mining opportunity came and his younger brother got accepted at Seoul University he decided to leave the country with his friend for more earnings.
Working to exhaustion he found bliss after meeting a Korean nurse woman, Young-ja who agreed to share both the pain and happiness with him as he will do the same to her. A mining accident almost killed Duk-soo and as his working visa expired, he settled to go back home. He tried asking Young-ja but she wanted to stay.
Helping out his aunt in the store, he was surprised by Young-ja’s visit and news of her pregnancy. They got married and live together with his family.
When his aunt died, his uncle decided to sell the store and his younger sister wanted to sell the house for her wedding. Pressured to keep the store and the family’s financial difficulties, he set forth to a technician job in Vietnam where a war is on going.
After being shot in an escape encounter with Vietcong soldiers, Duk-soo came home again to Korea, with a limping leg, and finally owning the store his uncle sold to him.
When a broadcast station launched a program to reunite the separated families from the Vietnam war, Duk-soo together with his best friend traveled to Seoul in search of finding his father and sister. Unfortunately his father was not found, but his sister was reunited to him and his family.
Back in present time, Duk-soo led his mother’s annual memorial service and while the children was showcasing their talents, Duk-soo went to his room after his son showed annoyance in him teaching his daughter an old song. In the room he reminisced the promise he gave his father and wept silently holding on to his father’s old clothes. While Duk-soo and Young-ja stared at the nearby port talking about their dreams, he finally agreed to selling the store as his father would be too old to keep his promise to meet him there.
There were a lot about life that this movie touched. From love to friendship to sacrifices. This will hit straight to the heart of the people who has given so many years of their lives to support their families without thinking much of their own and giving up on their personal dreams. This is a reminder also to children of elderly parents who are so consumed about their family lives they can’t even take 5 minutes of their time to check how their parents are, if they are genuinely happy, if they need something or if they just even want a time with them.
I cried and felt so good after watching this beautifully written story. It was a movie that will tap someone’s back for a job well done in choosing to bear the pain of giving up the years of his life to chase the things he really want to do because he has parents to rely on him.
A film perfect to watch in a family gathering. Splendidly and fluidly written with perfect amount of humor, heartwarming scenes and life lessons.