I heard good things about k-movie Han Gong Ju, and watched it last night. It was good, though the ending was a little disturbing – and I’m left with a few questions.

I wouldn’t say that it’s flawless. The movie had it’s own share of weaknesses – but overall, it was a really nice film and the fact that I watch it at 12am and finish at 2am means that it’s good enough for me to sacrifice my sleep. Hahahaha.

I find the whole film very easy to follow, though some people might not like the constant time-shift between the past and the present, but I kind of got used to that for movies, so it didn’t bother me.

I’m going to do a short discussion, probably contain spoilers and even the ending, so don’t read on if you don’t want to be spoiled.

Basically the movie revolves around a case of gang-rape, and Han Gong Ju was one of the victims. Her friend, who was also a victim, died and she had to transfer school after the incident.

Her parents are divorced, her dad is hardly around – and her mother has no knowledge of what happened. She stays at her former teacher’s mother place while the case wraps up.

Throughout the movie, we see that Han Gong Ju doesn’t have any adult for support, after a traumatic incident.

vlcsnap-2015-01-06-11h32m10s57vlcsnap-2015-01-06-11h32m11s70She did made some new friends, though she sometimes pushes them away when she gets reminded of the past.

She also pick up swimming, the reason which was revealed near the end.

Anyway, we see how Han Gong Ju, slowly try to adapt to her surrounding and when she finally open up a little, the past isn’t quite over yet and comes looking for her again. The parents of the boys came to her school, demanding that she sign a petition and blaming her for the plight their sons are in.

vlcsnap-2015-01-06-11h33m30s96With no support and no one to help… she jumps into the sea, just like her friend did.

vlcsnap-2015-01-06-11h34m17s46vlcsnap-2015-01-06-11h34m24s126vlcsnap-2015-01-06-11h34m28s160Her friends send her a text message, saying it isn’t her fault and that they miss her – but she decided to end her life. At the end, we could hear her narrate that the reason she wanted to learn swimming was in case she changed her mind, and wanted to live.


It was a sad ending, because eventually Gong Ju decided to end her life. The fact that she was interested in swimming and wanted to learn from the beginning meant that she was thinking of suicide the whole time after the incident.

I heard that the movie was based on a real incident, though I’m not sure of the accuracy of the movie with the real incident.

It’s sad that even up till today, sometimes people think that when a lady gets raped, it is partly their fault. It’s very unfair for women, because such incidents will scar us for life, probably make you feel ‘dirty’, and you feel ashamed and guilty – but really it is not their fault. This is such a sensitive topic so I wouldn’t comment further.

I’m a little puzzled though, how did the friends get the video??????

Anyway, there isn’t really much to be said – but the film was nice, though disturbing.

11 thoughts on “MOVIE REVIEW: Han Gong-Ju

  1. I loved the film, it was raw, realistic and breathtaking. It wasn’t meant to be a pleasing to the eye movie since its topic was fragile and overly poetic approaches don’t always work, sometimes it has to be realistic to depict the real extent of an incident, etc. I have a few questions as well, her friends after they sent her the message and she called them back, did they pick it up? Or the shock from the video was too much to respond to her? About the video, indeed, i was curious as well, maybe some of the rapists had leaked it or something, but i’m not quite sure. The ending confused me a bit as well, at some point the video shows her swimming and then unable to continue and the camera moves a few meters lower and then we see her swimming underneath the surface, i have two possible endings, it was either a poetic approach of her soul leaving the body OR she really did swim this way and the rhythmic han gong ju han gong ju from an audience in the end shows that she actually became a singer. But yes, it’s shameful that there are actually people and/or societies that accuse the rape victim, it makes no sense, i’s ill-natured.

    • Not sure about the ending either😦 But I’m just accepting that she died, because if she survived, I think it would have been hard or even impossible to actually become a singer.

      As for the phone call…. I assume perhaps it’s police calling to inform that she’s dead since her friend was the last form of contact and the rest of her family doesn’t even care for her well-being.

      But all of these are still just speculations. Hahahah. I just it depends on what the viewers want to see in the ending.

      • I haven’t given an ending to the movie yet, i’m between those two:/ Good thing is that the agency had contacted her via message, so there could have been a possibility. Hmmm, hadn’t thought of that about the phone call, but makes perfect sense if i accept the passing away ending! We’re the Gong Ju speculators!😀

        • I don’t see how it makes sense that the police would call the friends from Han Gong Ju’s phone. She most likely had it on her when she jumped into the water, which would have destroyed it or left it somewhere else. The police would have called from a police phone.

  2. Hi watched this movie. Love korean movies as they are something different. I’m sure you guys are already aware but it’s based on true events that took place.

  3. Frustrating to watch it from the States, because victims of sexual violence get treated “better” here. She wanted to live— she wanted to learn how to swim, in case she changed her mind—but no one came to her aid, because as one of the characters said she “may have been guilty.” Everyone abandoned her in when she was most vulnerable. Victims are blamed for rape and other types of violence; how could anyone welcome gang rape?? Her parents were despicable; her mother abandoned her and her father used the rape case to get money. And the rest of the adults, including the judicial system and the media were culpable in not protecting a child from a horrific trauma. There was no mention of therapy or counseling. It was as if she was soiled or tainted and deserving no good will what so ever. Even though the American system is imperfect, there is protection for victims of sexual violence, especially for minors.

    Korean society needs to change, it needs to treat its females better and evolve its views on sex and gender. Its cultural and societal attitudes needs to catch up to other facets (technology, economy, etc..) to be a true First World nation.

    One thing that gives me hope is that more filmmakers are addressing social issues like this. They are choosing not to look away.

  4. this movie is based on a real incident and if u search then u can see that this movie covers a lot of things from that incident. not providing lady doctor, reckless words of police, mindless parents of rapists and the drunken father. I lot of things. I think we have a lots of thing to learn from it. at first life never ends here, u can always starts it when u want❤

  5. Did u ppl really watch it and yet u didnt notice or understood
    First Thing u ppl hadnt noticed it.her friend didnt commit suicide.she was pregnant and soon the boys had known abt it they had pushed her into the water,making it look like a suicide to police.the girl watched it them throwing her into river
    Second Thing she wanted to learn swimming as a selfdefence,so if the same situation occurs to her by those boys parents or the boys as she knew they will come out.she wanted to make sure to protect herself
    Third Thing when told her not to contact her dad,she not only attended his call,accepted to meet him and signed papers without reading.
    Fourth Thing she allowed that girl who died into her house,gave her keys and even let her bring her bf in to her house.she wasnt even bothered to ask those bunch of ppl to leave her house when she had seen them in her house as she had opened the entrance door.
    being so careless letting anyone in to her house when her parents or elders arent present in home,making house like a club or hotel which her bf can access and bring her boyfriend in when she is working.what is all this.irresponsibility,negligence and her stupidness let her into getting raped in her own house.she must have been not supporting those rapists in anyways but letting any roadsiders enter into ur house and party is not a small thing

    • you’re the one who didn’t understand the movie and got it wrong entirely. Gong Jung learned how to swim because she thought she might back out when she jumped off the bridge. She thought she might regret it and want a second life/ or chance to start over. And her friend, Hwak Ok, wasn’t murdered; she committed suicide after finding out that she was pregnant from the gang rape. And it wasn’t at Gong Jung’s house but Dong Yoon’s who is her friend, and she worked part time at his Dad’s convenience store. Dong Yoon was the one who allowed them to enter his house freely. And because Gong Jung was with a group of dangerous boy, of course, she couldn’t speak up and tell them to get out of the house after seeing how they mistreated Dong Yoon. And the reason she was at his house was because she was worried about her best friend, Hwak Ok. She even told Dong Yoon that his dad would be home soon so he should tell them to leave; however, he proceeded to drug her anyway.

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