An Honest Review Of 'Sunshine Family'

Who knew smashing up a car a la Taylor Swift could be this fun?
PHOTO: Sunshine Family/Spring Films

The Long Plot, Sans Spoilers

The Mapalad family is going back to the Philippines after living in South Korea for five years. The dad, Don (Nonie Buencamino), works at a travel agency, while the mom, Sonya (Shamaine Buencamino), is a devoted housewife. When Don gets involved in a hit and run accident and kills a young Korean woman, Sonya rises to the occasion and is determined to get rid of the evidenceaka the carthat might lead to her husband's arrest. Sonya enlists the help of their children Shine (Sue Ramirez) and Max (Marco Masa) to tear the car apart.

Sonya is headstrong in keeping their family together despite the tragedy. But it doesn't help that they have a very nosy and suspicious neighbor or that Shine is actually dating a rookie police officer named Hyunwoo (Shinwoo)! 

The Short, Honest Plot 

A family of four convinces us that smashing up a carTaylor Swift stylecould be hilarious and bring a family together!  

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The Cast And Where You Last Saw Them

Nonie Buencamino as Don Mapalad

Nonie Buencamino starred in the 2017 movie adaptation of the crime novel Smaller And Smaller Circles as Father Gus. He was also part of the 2015 film Heneral Luna and had main roles in the series The Greatest Love (2016 to 2017) and Tanging Yaman (2010).  

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Shamaine Buencamino as Sonya Mapalad

Married to Nonie IRL, we recently saw Shamaine in the theater play The Kundiman Party, where she played the role of Maestra Adela Dolores, a retired singer who believes in the power of the kundiman. 

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Sue Ramirez as Shine Mapalad

Sue's previous projects include the film Ang Babaeng Allergic Sa WiFi (2018) and the TV shows La Luna Sangre (2017) and Hanggang Saan (2017 to 2018). She is set to star in the film Dead Kids later this year.  

Shinwoo as Hyunwoo 

Shinwoo was a member and the lead vocalist of K-pop group Blanc7, which is set to make a "restart" in 2019. 

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Marco Masa as Max Mapalad

Child actor Marco Masa starred in the teleserye Nathaniel (2015) as an angel who returns to Earth on a mission. He also joined the reality show Your Face Sounds Familiar: Kids in 2018. 

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Did You Know? 

1. It's actually a remake! Sunshine Family is closely based on the award-winning 1992 Japanese film, The Hit-And-Run Family, also known as Hikinege Family.

2. The film is a joint production between South Korea and the PH. The Filipino company Spring Films is also the production house behind the movie Kita Kita (2017).

3. Sue posted this teaser pic of her and Shinwoo in November 2018, which revealed to fans that she was working with the K-pop idol.

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4. The Filipino cast only had a month to prepare and master their dialogue! According to Korean director Kim Tai-Sik, the lead characters impressively endured the three-week shoot in South Korea under "cold weather and harsh environment."

5. The film's director made two versions of the film during post-production, one that caters to Filipinos and one that's targeted towards Koreans. 

What I Think: 

I don't know if it was intended, but the film moved much too quickly! The pace of the hour and a half film was too fast for me and I felt like I needed time to literally breathe in-between scenes. It felt really bitin, especially the ending.  

The love story between Shine (Sue) and Hyunwoo (Shinwoo) wasn't that big of a focus like I expected. It was more of a side story, as Sunshine tries to say goodbye to her policeman boyfriend, knowing that she's leaving the country soon and that her dad is now a criminal. It helped that Hyunwoo played a pivotal role in the development of the hit and run case, but I honestly would've wanted their story to be fleshed out further. I guess it was unfair of me to expect a lot of K-drama-like scenes, considering that this was a family movie! 

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The film made up for it though with the stellar performances of real-life couple Nonie and Shamaine. If someone was going to make a film out of my life, I would legit want the Buencaminos to play the role of my parents. I feel like they can act any part that comes their way, especially Shamaine. While watching, I wanted to grab a heavy metal object, smash a car, and let out all my frustrations. It seemed so satisfying when they did it! 

It was also endearing to hear the characters speak in Korean! Now, I'm no expert, but the way Nonie and Shamaine delivered their lines made me believe that they'd actually been living in SK for a few years! Even more impressive is the fact that they only had a month to memorize and rehearse everything. I mean, WOW. It was also nice to see a different part of Korea, one that wasn't full of chaebols, flashy cars, and tall Seoul buildings. It seemed more real to see the Mapalad family living in a not-so-nice neighborhood.  

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More than anything, I loved how distinct Filipino moments were included in the film, such as a super iconic OPM song, "Bituing Walang Ningning," and even Shine swearing "Gago!" when her cop boyfriend says that he loves her. While the film isn't perfect, I think it managed to fulfill its purpose: It made me laugh and it made me want to cry and it made me realize how lovable close-knit Pinoy families are!

P.S. I actually spent some time with my sibs after watching Sunshine Family

I'd Recommend It To: 

  • K-drama fans! It might not be a love story, but seeing Filipinos in a Korean setting will surely make you want to visit the land of oppas even more! 
  • Anyone who's looking for a quirky family film. This movie exaggerates Pinoy family oddities in the funniest way!

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