A heartwarming, yet heartbreaking tale of a daughter who made her father’s last days in jail a bit brighter. Though the story starts off in modern day with the daughter grown up as a prosecutor, she is standing trial to defend her father, Yong-gu, against a mishandled case that led to his death. The story flashes back to when she was just a child who lived with her mentally disabled father. After a misunderstanding where the father tried to save the daughter of a prominent police commissioner using CPR, he is put onto death row, convicted as a child molester/murderer. His own daughter, Ye-Sung, is devastated and knows that her poor father was not the bad man that others said he was. Yong-gu misses his daughter terribly and earns himself the chance to see her when he saved a fellow cell-mate from being shanked. His cellmates, actual criminals, manage to sneak her in during a missionary choir recital. Ye-sung actually manages to live with her father and cell ahjussi’s for a few days. Everyone falls in love with this adorable little angel, but of course she is discovered and temporarily sent to live with Chief Jang, the warden.
Through a fire riot at the prison where his life was saved by Yong-gu, Chief Jang who had initially been so against him begins to become suspicious that the man couldn’t have been what the media painted him as. With the help of his cellmates and this new ally, they prepare for the trial appeal. However, the law system with the help of the police commissioner completely overrides Yong-gu chance at a fair trial. For his remaining days, his daughter and the cell mates try to make it as memorable as they can before he has to meet his inevitable fate. The hope lies on Ye-sung’s shoulders to right the wrong done to her father.
- How cruel and inhumane the justice system can be before laws were implemented to protect the mentally incompetent. I’m not sure how the Korean justice system worked back then, but it is so heartbreaking to watch all the blame being pinned on Yeong-gu when he was so obviously not mentally competent to stand trial.
- A beautiful portrayal of a father and daughter relationship. Ye-sung was Yeong-gu’s whole world. Though he could not grasp the situation as deeply as other could, he understood enough to take up the police commissioner’s threat and try to protect his daughter in his own way.
- The scene where father and daughter went up in the hot air balloon that the prison had built. It was really quite heartwarming. And again, heartbreaking as we see that the hot balloon is still tethered to the prison in a way that it can never truly fly away.
- TEARS TEARS. The moment where Yeong-gu really grasps that he will not see his daughter ever again is sobbing his heart out against the bars. Ye-sung’s gut-wrenching cries for her father. Yeong-gu’s PLEAS FOR FORGIVENESS WHEN HE HASN’T DONE ANYTHING WRONG.
- A tragic movie, but overall heartwarming.