“Castaway on the Moon” Movie Review
As I had been posting articles (“Into the Wild(film)” and “80 year old naked hermit”) that introduced some people who shunned away from the conventional society to find freedom through living as hermits in the wild, this movie also involves a man who found happiness through a newfound hermit lifestyle in an abandoned island.
But this movie isn’t just about the man himself, but it also depicts the shortcomings of the modern society and how the modern society is conditioned to chase false happiness through financial success, social media, and etc.
As the modernization limits and enslaves people through these conditions, two main characters of the movie that have failed to meet these conditional norms find a new happiness and freedom through unexpected events.
Through hopelessness, they find new hopes in their lives.
Kim Seong-geun is a typical office clerk from Seoul(a major metropolitan city in South Korea). However he is deep in debt and his girlfriend dumps him. He is fed up with his hopeless financial situation, pressure of the modern day society, and feeling like a failure. So he jumps off a bridge to Han River(A big river that separates north and south side of Seoul) to commit suicide.
Not knowing how to swim, he was certain that he was going to die. However, when he wakes up he’s washed away to a little abandoned vegetated island right below the bridge. He feels even more depressed and upset that he can’t even be “successful” at committing suicide. Then he desperately tries to get out of the island by swimming or writing a big “Help” signal on the sand, but he can’t swim and no one notices the sign. He is stuck on the island in the middle of a city surrounding 10 million people but nobody notices him.
The next day he decides to hang his necktie on a tree to make a loop and tries to kill himself by hanging, but at that moment, out of nowhere he gets an upset stomach. He stops and moves to find a spot to go release his diarrhea. As he is releasing himself, he sees red salvia flowers in front him. As he did in his childhood days, he plucks a petal and sucks the honey. When he tastes the sweetness of the honey, he starts breaking down and cry really hard. All the pent up emotion pours out and he lets go. He finds a glimpse of hope through the sweet tasting salvia petal and decides to not to follow through with his suicide plan.
As he regain new motivation to live, a little by little he learns to live on the island. At first he only eats mushrooms to survive. Then he gathers whatever he can find including garbage materials that came on shore and learns how to make good use of them. He learns how to climb trees to get eggs from bird nests. He starts roasting fish and birds that he learned to “catch” using laundry detergent. He even makes a little “room” in a washed away duck-shaped pedal boat.
Being away from “tortures” of the society, he no longer has to survive off of money or have to worry about the expectation of the society. He finds peace, happiness, and contentment living alone and living free from the pressure and conditioned rules of the conventional society.
Kim Jung-Yeon suffers from agoraphobia and social phobia. She lives in a nice apartment with her parents, but she locks herself in her room and rarely ever leaves. She only leaves the room to use the bathroom once a day when her parents have gone to work. She opens the door only to grab food that her mom leaves in front of the door before she goes to work. Even at home, she communicates with her mom through phone texting.
We can assume that her agoraphobia and social phobia is from a little burnt scar above her eye.
Her room is filled with canned food and junk. There are bags of garbage that accumulated who knows how long. She’s been living that way for 3 years. She sleeps inside a closet filled with bubble wraps.
Even in this turmoil of a room, she lives a life in a routine. She counts her calories and does “walk-in-place” exercises to get a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day. She starts her day by cleaning her computer keyboards and “goes to work” on her cyber world social media page.
She fakes her identity by pretending to be someone else on her social media page. She uses pictures of others to show off her social status and her fashion. She has a big amount of followers that’s waiting for her to update her new pictures and show her new outfits. She feels a sense of importance and popularity through her fake social media page. She feels a false sense of joy through feeling like a “somebody” other than her true self.
At night, she loves to use her camera to take pictures of the moon. She dreams of living on the moon. She fantasizes how she won’t feel lonely if she can live on the moon since there’s nobody else. …Until one day, she spots a “HELP” sign on an island through her camera scope….
Friends Request. Friends Accepted.
Ms. Kim’s life routine gets disrupted ever since she discovered this “HELP” sign and this new “alien” on this island. She can’t sleep. She lost interest of her “fake” social media page. She can’t think well. All she thinks about is this strange “alien” man on the island.
She stops taking picture of the moon, but instead she starts taking picture of the “alien” man and the island. She observes and collects everyday lives of this new creature she discovered. On the wall, her new pictures of this “alien” man started to cover up the pictures of moon she used to take.
As her interest grows, she starts changing as well. A little by little she starts breaking out of her shell. She wants to request friends with the “alien” man. She orders a champagne bottle through the internet and sticks a paper that says “HELLO.” She becomes even bold enough to sneak out at night covering her head with a motorcycle helmet. First time in 3 years she stepped outside of her apartment. She goes to the bridge and toss the bottle to the island.
As she waits for a response from the “alien” man, 3 months passes. As Mr. Kim explores the island, he discovers the bottle and finds the note that says “Hello.” He starts wondering if the note was sent to him, since he changed the “HELP” sign to “HELLO” when he just began his new life on the island. He responds by writing “HOW ARE YOU” on the sand. Ms. Kim gets very excited when she discovers the sign. They start exchanging messages through sand writings and bottle messages. Mr. Kim’s content solitary life brings a new excitement and a new hope through this friendship. Ms. Kim’s secluded life brings a new excitement and a new hope as she breaks out of her shell through this friendship….
A new life begins….
I’d say the main motive of this movie is to show “hope.” A hope for happiness, freedom, joy, excitement and new life by breaking away from fear, anxiety, pressure, society, norm, hurt, and etc.
Being able to relate to many things that’s dealt within the movie, it moved me emotionally throughout the entire movie. At times it made me laugh hard and at times it made me cry. It was a roller coaster ride and ended on such a positive note…. Or a “hope.”
Check out this link if you are interested in this beautiful film. Enjoy!