I enjoy psychological films. I like seeing characters undergo psychological changes. Those types of films entertain me, even change my views of the world sometimes.
Secret Sunshine is one such film. In it a woman experiences a set of major events that send her spiraling into a psychological downfall, then up through enlightenment, then, finally, she falls deeper and deeper until true enlightenment is possible.
I don't want to spoil anything for those of you who haven't seen this yet, so I'll keep it brief. The woman loses her husband and then moves to his hometown with her son, hoping to start over. Once there she is greeted by a local neighbor who tells her that the only way to be truly happy is to find God, join the church, and become a religious citizen. She is hesitant, explaining that she doesn't believe in such things.
A few more things happen (I'm refraining from saying for spoilers sake) and she decides to join the church, finding God and weeping in an emotional scene (the actress does a wonderful job here, as well as throughout the entire film) which leads to her apparent happiness.
But not everything is as it seems...and when the woman decides to apply one of God's teachings to her daily life, the results aren't what she had expected. She falls into darkness once again, this time at a frightening speed.
What happens after this can only be witnessed by watching the film, since I don't want to give away any more.
Secret Sunshine is a masterpiece of psychological cinema. It takes a step back and examines how Religion can affect a human life, both positively and negatively, and the film isn't afraid of pulling punches. This is an emotionally draining film, but I found the ending to be truly enlightening. Others might feel differently towards the ending.
Viewers with strong religious beliefs that can't view this film with an open mind might be disturbed by Secret Sunshine.
Viewers with open minds, regardless of life beliefs, and fans of "different" cinema will enjoy this film.
I couldn't take my eyes off every frame of Secret Sunshine, and the way the film ends gives me hope. Film: 5/5 stars.
The blu-ray is a Criterion release, so the video and audio are perfect. There are plenty of extras including a booklet inside the blu-ray case with an interesting article. Video/Audio/Extras gets 5/5 stars.
Overall: 5/5 stars. Secret Sunshine is the best film I've seen that deals with Religion. Its also a great "character study" of a woman undergoing psychological changes. I recommend this film highly to viewers with open minds.
Rating: Not Rated, likely Rated R. Minimal strong language, some sexual content (which serves the story well) and some disturbing violence. Ages 17 and up.