Harmony

A women's prison choir struggles with melody, family and the legal system in the musical and manipulative Korean meller.

With:
With: Kim Yun-jin, Na Mun-hee, Kang Ye-won, Park Joon-myeon, Lee Da-hee, Jang Young-nam.

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.

Harmony

South Korea

Production: A CJ Entertainment presentation of a JK Film production. (International sales: CJ Entertainment, Seoul.) Produced by Kim Nam-su, Yun Je-gyun, Jeong Jae-won. Directed by Kang Dae-gyu. Screenplay, Lee Seung-yeon, Yun Je-gyun.

Crew: Camera (color, widescreen), Kim Yeong-ho; editor, Sin Min-kyeong; music, Lee Byeong-woo; production designer, Lee Seung-yeon. Reviewed on DVD, Sydney, April 3, 2010. (In Hong Kong Filmart.) Original title: Harmoni. Running time: 115 MIN.

With: With: Kim Yun-jin, Na Mun-hee, Kang Ye-won, Park Joon-myeon, Lee Da-hee, Jang Young-nam.

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