Miracle in Cell No. 7: Family love and human nature in a Korean film

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Sophia Huang, Writer

The first movie I watched this year was a Korean film called “Miracle in Cell No. 7.” It is a family movie about a mentally challenged father, played by Ryu Seung-Ryong, and his cute young daughter, played by Kal So-won. Although the father has the intelligence of a 7-year-old, he loves his daughter immensely and sacrifices everything for her. It is so moving that I almost cried when I watched it.

At the beginning of the movie, the father, Yong-go, is waiting for his payday to buy a favorite backpack for his daughter Ye-sung. However, the local police chief buys the last one in the shop just before Yong-go gets his paycheck. As the chief’s daughter leads Yong-go to another shop to find the backpack, she slips on ice and dies from the hit to her head. A passerby sees Yong-go doing CPR on the little girl, thinks he is going to rape her, and calls the police. The police chief, in grief over his daughter, threatens to hurt Yong-go’s daughter if he does not confess. Yong-go ends up in Cell No. 7, awaiting the death penalty.

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The five other prisoners in the cell arrange to help Yong-go and his daughter meet, and the optimistic girl’s smile and naivety fill the little cell with joy. There are many funny incidents of the prisoners dealing with a 7-year-old girl. As time goes by, Yong-go’s kindness moves his roommates enough that they decide to help him break out of jail. As they try to escape there is an unforgettable scene between father and daughter, but the movie ends in sadness.

“Miracle in Cell No. 7” moved me because it told a sad story in a comic way, with the humor of the father’s character and the little girl’s optimism, which actually made the movie more tragic when it came to the end. It showed the great paternal love of the mentally disabled father and the friendship and sympathy of the prisoners in Cell No. 7, contrasted with the cruelty of the hypocritical police chief. I recommend “Miracle in Cell No. 7” to everyone. It can be found on YouTube with English episodes.

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