Secret Sunshine (2007) directed by Lee Chang- Dong (famous male South Korean Director who was also the former Minister of Culture) is a South Korean feminist drama. The main character is a woman named Lee Shin-ae who just lost her husband. Lee moves with her son from a large city to a small conservative town where her husband grew up. Lee’s son is abducted, which causes her to fall into a deep well of despair. With the loss of Lee’s son the mother is no longer a mother. She struggles with who she is without the role of “mother” or “wife”. Lee turns to the Christian faith, but that road also fails her. Secret Sunshine is all about dealing with many levels of grief from the loss of the child to loss of “motherhood” as a identity– a way to fit into the world.
I would recommend this South Korean film to my readers who are interested in gender roles,edgy murder mysteries, questioning identity, women battling dominating “stalker-like” men, disillusionment with the Christian faith, South Korean dramas, and what happens when someone acts outside the norm.