“Ode To My Father” is the story of Deok Su, a completely ordinary man, who in the face of tumultuous events, marshals the extraordinary courage to protect his family. Sticking together they survive some of modern history’s most significant events. As a child, Deok Su had to say goodbye to his father during a North Korean refugee evacuation amidst the Korean War. His last words to his father were a promise that he would always protect the family. As he matures, that vow leads him to the coal mines of 1960’s Germany, and even into the jungle of the Vietnam War. ‘Ode To My Father’ is a heartwarming tale of a regular man who musters superhuman resilience for the sake of his family, all set in the maelstrom of modern history as it crashed over Korea. With echoes of tumultuous events happening around the globe today, ‘Ode To My Father’ is a loving look at one family who manages to survive and even thrive.
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I’ve read elsewhere that the story does resemble that of Forrest Gump, but here I think there is a very different emphasis. Forrest Gump focuses mainly on one man’s journey, while this show also touches on modernity and how it’s perceived by our parents’ generation, and the generation gap between our parents and our current generation.
As a broad sweep through Korean history, definitely a good and well-dramatised one. For non-Koreans it’s definitely quite enlightening since it does feature certain events outside the North-South conflict narrative we usually see in action movies.
But in general, the movie is so moving because of its emphasis on family and one’s duty to family, and that’s why I found it so moving. Bonus fact: watched it in the cinema with my mum and I think it's safe to say there wasn't a dry eye in the cinema hall!
Was surprised to see Kim Yunjin snag such a major Korean role after watching her in Lost. However, Hwang Jung-min’s character definitely takes centre stage in the story. He does such a great job. Oh Dal-soo as usual is fantastic as his comical sidekick.