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Happy End is a South Korean film released in 1999. Written and directed by Jung Ji-woo, the film is about a woman who has an affair while her husband is struggling to find employment.

Happy End
Happy End (1999 film) poster.jpg
Revised RomanizationHaepi endeu
McCune–ReischauerHaep‘i endŭ
Directed byJung Ji-woo
Produced byLee Eun
Jeon Chang-rok
Written byJung Ji-woo
StarringChoi Min-sik
Jeon Do-yeon
Joo Jin-mo
Music byJo Yeong-wook
Kim Gyu-yang
CinematographyKim Woo-hyung
Edited byKim Hyeon
Kim Yong-su
Release date
  • 11 December 1999 (1999-12-11)
Running time
99 minutes
CountrySouth Korea



Happy End is about Choi Bora (Jeon Do-yeon), a successful career woman who becomes involved with her ex-lover, Kim Il-beom (Joo Jin-mo). Bora's home life is a snore: she's mother to an infant child and her husband, Seo Min-ki (Choi Min-sik) has lost his job, leaving Bora as the family's sole breadwinner. It's unclear if Bora is with Il-beom just for the sex or for the passion, both of which Min-ki seems incapable of giving. But it seems the jobless Min-ki hasn't been just wandering around parks and reading romance novels as first thought; he knows something is going on, and he's collecting evidence.

Min-ki has been emasculated by his inability to find a job and director Jung hammers this point home with a brief montage showing Min-ki grocery shopping, cooking, and doing the laundry. These are all very feminine jobs, particularly in very patriarchal South Korea. Most interesting is that Min-ki seems content to live with the cheating Bora, very much aware of his own shortcomings, which leaves him willing to be wronged.

Bora is unable to stop going back to Il-beom even though she seems physically and emotionally damaged by their continued affair. Il-beom has realized that he is hooked on her, and is very aware of his jealously-driven actions toward her and her family. Without each other, they have no passion in their lives, and so they must keep going back to each other.

Although Happy End ends rather unhappily, the film is not altogether downbeat. Director Jung Ji-woo has taken the role of observer, using mostly handheld cameras to capture the events in the lives of his 3 main subjects.

The film is sexually explicit, and there is one scene of brutal violence.


  • Choi Min-sik ...Seo Min-ki
  • Jeon Do-yeon ... Choi Bo-ra
  • Joo Jin-mo ... Kim Il-beom
  • Joo Hyun ... Bookstore owner
  • Hwang Mi-seon ... Mi-yong
  • Kim Byeong-chun
  • Park Ji-il
  • Park Nam-hee
  • Lee Geum-ju
  • Yoo Yeon-soo ... detective with sideburns
  • Park Sung-il ... video store clerk


  • Kim, Kyung-hyun (2004). "8. Lethal Work: Domestic Space and Gender Troubles in Happy End and The Housemaid". The Remasculinization of Korean Cinema. Durham and London: Duke University Press. pp. 233–258. ISBN 0-8223-3267-1.

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