3 Movies Like Secret Sunshine (2007)

Staff & contributors

Chasing the feel of watching Secret Sunshine ? Here are the movies we recommend you watch right after.

For better or worse, death strikes us all, fast and unexpectedly. It’s tough enough if the death is caused by ill health or accidents, but when premeditated by another person– it can be easy to lose faith in a higher power. Secret Sunshine depicts a grieving mother trying to start a new life in the countryside, though certain events make it tough to fit in. There’s a well-meaning, long-term bachelor who’s interested in her, though she’s not ready to reciprocate, and there’s townsfolk that would like to invite her to their church, though she’s reluctant to join. There’s curious, gossipy neighbors ready to comment on her every action. Secret Sunshine reveals a darker layer to the countryside towns we retreat to to cope, but it also examines the ways we grieve, cope, and deal with forgiveness, in a community that would prioritize itself at the expense of what's morally right.

, 2011

Poetry is a masterpiece from one of South Korea's most cherished movie directors, Lee Chang-dong. The simple story follows the everyday life of a grandmother, Mija, who works as a caretaker for a living. To fill her inner emptiness, she decides to join a poetry club with other grandmothers in her neighborhood. Meanwhile, as Mija deals with her own financial and health problems, she struggles to connect with her teenage grandson — only to find out that he is keeping a dark secret. If you are familiar with Lee Chang-dong works, then you know that the movie will tug at your heartstrings. But if you aren't, prepare to be moved.

Genre: Drama

Actor: Ahn Nae-sang, Chang Hyae-jin, Eun-yeong Kim, Hee-ra Kim, Jang Hye-jin, Jeong-hie Yun, Kim Eun-yeong, Kim Gye-sun, Kim Hee-ra, Kim Hye-jung, Kim Ja-young, Kim Jong-goo, Kim Nam-jin, Kwon Hyuk-soo, Lee Da-wit, Min Bok-gi, Nam Joong-gyu, Park Hyun-woo, Park Myung-shin, Yoon Jeong-hee

Director: Chang-dong Lee, Lee Chang-dong

Rating: TV-PG

Coming-of-age films are usually optimistic, but sometimes, growing up isn’t as rosy as portrayed to be, as kids start to learn the failings of the adults that should know better and the tension that lies between sexes. Typhoon Club is like an anti-Breakfast Club, with the kids stuck in school overnight, not just one morning, due to a natural typhoon instead of randomly assigned detentions, and with the kids returning home traumatized instead of triumphant. Director Shinji Sōmai crafts a raw, turbulent experience, alternating between before, during, and after their stay that steadily heightens the uneasy, sometimes dangerous, experiences where these teenagers directly confront the disappointment that is adulthood. It’s a challenging film to watch, but Typhoon Club’s early exploration of teen ennui made it to be considered one of the best Japanese films ever made.

Genre: Drama

Actor: Kaori Kobayashi, Makoto Satō, Minori Terada, Saburo Date, Tomiko Ishii, Tomokazu Miura, Toshinori Omi, Youki Kudoh, Yuichi Mikami, Yuka Ônishi, Yuriko Fuchizaki

Director: Shinji Sōmai

Certified Copy starts straightforward enough as it follows an unnamed shopkeeper (Juliette Binoche) and a writer (William Shimell) taking a stroll around picturesque Tuscany, debating the merits of authenticity and simplicity. They’re strangers flirting under the guise of an intellectual debate, and for a while, you think you’re watching a film like Before Sunrise, that is until a mysterious, almost magical, shift occurs, and suddenly, you’re witnessing something entirely different. For better or worse, director Abbas Kiarostami never makes it clear what happens, and that very mystery gives you a lot to think about. Are they pretending to be copies or is it the other way around? Neverending questions run through your head as you watch them banter, but whatever actually happens might be beside the point. At the moment, you get deeply felt, wonderfully rendered, as-real-as-can-be performances from Binoche and Shimell, and you can’t help but surrender.

Genre: Drama, Romance

Actor: Adrian Moore, Agathe Natanson, Andrea Laurenzi, Angelo Barbagallo, Filippo Trojano, Gianna Giachetti, Jean-Claude Carrière, Juliette Binoche, William Shimell

Director: Abbas Kiarostami

Rating: NR