On a rainy morning, little So-Won (Lee Re) leaves for school, which is not very far from her home. Her father works at a local factory and her mother runs a modest neighborhood stationery shop below their home. So-Won is supposed to walk to school with her friend, but her friend ditched her for his group of guy friends. So-Won does not make it to school. Hours later, So-Won's father Dong-Hoon (Sol Kyung-Gu) receives a gut wrenching phone call from the police. So-Won is now hospitalized after being brutally sexually assaulted. Throughout the film, her family labors to help her heal while coping with their own rage and grief.
The film is based on a true story.
- Lee Re as Im So-won
- Sol Kyung-gu as Im Dong-hoon, So-won's father
- Uhm Ji-won as Kim Mi-hee, So-won's mother
Accolades and Reception:
Hope was the surprise winner for Best Film at the 34th Blue Dragon Film Awards, defeating blockbusters Miracle in Cell No. 7, Snowpiercer and The Face Reader. It also took Best Screenplay and Best Supporting Actress for Ra Mi-ran. In her acceptance speech, a tearful Ra said, "I want to say this to the many girls out there who are in suffering like So-won—it's not your fault. It's OK. Please have strength." Ra again won at the KOFRA Film Awards (organized by the Korean Film Reporters Association), and Uhm Ji-won won Best Actress at the Korean Association of Film Critics Awards.
Apart from accolades from critics and audiences for "its focus on family, heartfelt emotion and feel-good message," the film has also drawn criticism for "trying to turn one of the most infamous news stories in recent years into a maudlin piece of mass entertainment," and that "it is too idealistic in depicting how the family overcomes the assault," with some people questioning whether it was right to profit from such a horrible event, no matter the intentions of the filmmaker.
Hope was released in theaters on October 2, 2013. It had a soft opening, but through strong word of mouth, the film surpassed Tough as Iron (which opened on the same day), and topped the local box office chart with 1.21 million tickets sold (US$5.2 million) on its first week. On October 9, a public holiday, Hope recorded 210,000 admissions, the daily highest during its screening period. It increased its ticket sales by chalking up a 16% increase from its October 3 tally of 187,804 admissions.
By its second week, it had reached 2.4 million admissions (₩11.9 billion), demonstrating it had strong legs by dropping only 8% and 29% in its second and third weekends. It stayed on the box office top ten in its third week, adding 290,000 to its modest hit status, with 2.67 million admissions. At the end of its run, its total admissions stood at 2,711,003, with a gross of ₩18,529,474,100.
On December 11, 2008, an eight-year-old first grader (known by her pseudonym "Na-young") was on her way to school when she was kidnapped by Cho Doo-soon (Jo Du-sun), a 57-year-old man living in Ansan, who was drunk at the time. Cho repeatedly raped Na-young in an abandoned public church restroom, and as the child resisted, he beat, strangled and attempted to drown her in a toilet until she lost consciousness. Her parents found Na-young near death, and she was taken to a local hospital where after an eight-hour surgery, she had a prolonged stay in the intensive care unit. Doctors said Na-young sustained irreversible damage to her genitals, anus and intestines, which initially required her to wear a colostomy bag to replace her missing organs. Cho was arrested three days after the incident; he was a habitual sex offender with 17 prior crimes, and had spent three years in prison for rape in 1983.
According to her father from a report in 2020, she only watches cartoons and avoids news completely to avoid any possible chance of seeing something sexual assault-related.