A women’s prison choir struggles with melody, family and the legal system in the musical and manipulative Korean meller “Harmony.” Featuring “Lost” thesp Kim Yun-jin as a tone-deaf single mother, pic blends the recent tuner trend in Seoul’s legit world with evergreen melodrama. Strong thesping by Kim and mother figure Na Mun-hee cover some of the script’s gaping cracks; for susceptible auds, wet hankies will cover the rest. Boffo local biz (more than $21 million) during “Harmony’s” January release should herald similar pics, while Asian auds abroad will join the chorus.
One of five inmates sharing a cell, Jeong-hye (Kim) pitches the idea of a choir to the prison warden. At the outset, the singers’ biggest obstacles are Jeong-hye’s awful voice and a mean guard (Jang Young-nam). As the awkward, “Sister Act”-flavored script veers from laffs to tears, each convict reveals a troubled soul. Still, thanks to energetic perfs, including Na’s classy effort as a benevolent queen bee, pic satisfies on its own excessively heart-wrenching terms. Use of widescreen by first-time helmer Kang Dae-gyu works well for the choir scenes but is otherwise unremarkable. Other tech credits hit top notes.