Happy Cleaners is about the split between first and second generation Americans. While the film is funny, it tackles the dramatic angles of what do you when cultural differences are this strong? The parents at the heart of Happy Cleaners love their children. But, it’s so hard to give a damn when your business might gentrified. Especially when your son has a dream to open a food truck in LA.
Korean cinema is having a golden age. While we didn’t care for Parasite, that’s one film in an endless hit parade of cinematic works. I’ve been checking out Minari and the recent Arrow Blu-ray release of JSA. But, can we have a Korean movie that exists outside of this super defined parameters?
Not every American movie is a period piece drama or a war movie. We do release car movies, kid shit and whatever film check Disney is cashing this month. Happy Cleaners finds its heart by following Kevin and Hyunny, as they try to understand their parents’ struggle. These 20 something year old kids want to do good, but they also want to have the lives of their friends.
Where the film picks up its dramatic weight is examining the looming shadow of failure. The parents don’t want to lose their business to which they tie their idea of the American dream. Meanwhile, the kids don’t want to disappoint their parents and blow their outsider jobs.
The choice to have the older Koreans speak their native language and keep the young people speaking English was neat. Past that, there’s nothing here that you haven’t seen before. I’ll take a ton of great ideas any day, but I wanted something that would stick in my memory for longer.
That being said, I’m not the target audience of Happy Cleaners. But, I appreciate it having seen it so much. Start off the Lunar New Year right and watch the movie this weekend!