Happy Cleaners: A Film That Will Make You Hungry

Happy Cleaners is a drama film directed by Julian Kim and Peter S. Lee. The plot follows the Choi Family as they navigate life, and the hardships therein.  Their relationships will be tested, and their bonds strained, but can the Family survive its American Dream?

This film made me hungry, it then warmed my heart; but I was still hungry. This is one of the sweetest most genuine films I have seen in a long time, it feels so painfully true to life that you almost forget it is fiction and think that it is a documentary at times. This film speaks so much to the life of a lot of people that falls far beyond the glamorised Hollywood ideal, and shows it like it is for a lot of people, in a never-ending struggle.

The heart and by extension the emotional impact of the film were exactly where they needed to be to leave a lasting impact. The scene between the Father (Charles Ryu), and The Son (Yun Jeong), that follows on from the heated argument, where they manage to understand where the other is coming from without physically saying it is magnificent there is so much said without words in this scene it truly is a work of art; and it made me cry a little bit.

The acting is all very strong, not just from Ryu and Jeong but from the whole family. Hyang-hwa Lim as the matriarch of the family who just wants what’s best for her kids, despite them not agreeing with her assessment of what best is, is also very strong. I think her character has a near perfect arc, and the health scare really helps to add further perspective into the film and the scene and deepen the emotional takeaway.

Overall, a magnificent film that speaks to you to tell you of a shared life and experience, one that will be both different and familiar.


The acting

The relatability

The food scenes are great food porn and do make you hungry

The few jokes that there are work well and make you laugh

The emotional pay off




Reviewed by Luke

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