If you saw this film with friends you probably were embarrassed by the end, because this poignant tale leaves few with dry eyes.
Heart is… is a melancholy tale about a wonderfully innocent pair of children, neglected by their mother, forced to live with relatives, who eventually move and are unable to support them any longer.
Directed by Oh Dal-gyun, Heart is… is a tragic masterpiece which comments on the brutality of society, particularly on the dimension of human trafficking.
Chan-yi as an older brother cares for his younger sister, So-yi with great care, but he is not able to take the pain away of their mother’s abandonment. When Chan-yi steals a puppy and brings it home to So-yi for her birthday, the screenplay begins to get…well it begins to get cute. Heart is a sweet and talented dog, who in some way represents the naivety and innocence of the two children.
One day, while playing on the ice, and Chan-yi is away, So-yi falls into the ice, and drowns. Chan-yi blames Heart and will not forgive him, but Heart is persistent and faithful.
Chan-yi decides to make the trek to Busan to see his mother and she is not happy about seeing him. Chan-yi tries to tell his mother that So-yi had died, but is unable to do so. She is leaving for America with her lover in a few short days. Meanwhile, Heart is following the scent of his master, much in the same way that the dogs in Homeward Bound, did. The main difference of course is that Heart doesn’t speak.
Eventually Chan-yi gets pulled into a human-trafficking ring, led by a man who appears to be kind and giving, but clearly is selfish and controlling. The man preys on children and forces them to go and collect money in the subway systems from gullible train riders. In doing so, he is acting much like a madame would in a brothel.
This film is firmly seated in the drama department, and due to its powerful, sweet and melancholy story; it is able to keep the viewer hooked throughout the entirety of the film. Though I will not spoil the ending, I will say this film is definitely worth your time.