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My Brilliant Life (Korean두근두근 내 인생; RRDugeun Dugeun Nae Insaeng; lit. My Palpitating Life) is a 2014 South Korean drama film starring Song Hye-kyo and Gang Dong-won.[2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9] It was co-written and directed by E J-yong based on the 2011 novel My Palpitating Life by Kim Aeran.[10][11][12][13]

My Brilliant Life
My Brilliant Life-poster.jpg
Theatrical poster
Hangul두근두근 인생
Hanja두근두근 내 人生
Directed byE J-yong
Produced byLee Yu-jin
Written by
  • Choi Min-seok
  • E J-yong
  • Oh Hyo-jin
Based onMy Palpitating Life
by Kim Aeran
Music byJung Jae-hyung
CinematographyLee Jae-hyeok
Edited byKim Chang-ju
Distributed byCJ Entertainment
Release date
  • September 3, 2014 (2014-09-03)
Running time
110 minutes
CountrySouth Korea
Box officeUS$11 million[1]

My Brilliant Life won the Third Place Audience Award at the 17th Udine Far East Film Festival in 2015.[14] My Brilliant Life was released under CJ Entertainment in Korea on September 3, 2014.[15] The film received official wide release in China on March 13, 2015.[16]


Immature and clumsy Dae-soo and beautiful but foul-mouthed Mi-ra were both seventeen-year-old teenagers when Mi-ra became pregnant. As a result of familial rejection, Dae-soo decides to run away from home and care for his family on his own. Their son Ah-reum was born, but he was diagnosed with the extremely rare genetic disorder progeria, which makes its recipient age prematurely and rapidly. Years later, Ah-reum is sixteen, but his body is that of an eighty-year-old man. The family faces the fact that he may not live to see his 18th birthday. Sensing that he doesn't have much time left, Ah-reum writes a story about how his young parents fell in love and how he came to be, hoping to give it as a gift to them on his seventeenth birthday. At the same time, Dae-soo and Mi-ra struggle to raise money for Ah-reum's hospital expenses and accept the reality that their son will not be with them much longer. To cover costs, Dae-soo takes up work as a taxi-driver and Mi-ra works at a laundry. Dae-soo struggles to balance work and spending limited time with his son. Hearing the story of Ah-Reum, a television crew searches out the family to make a documentary program about Ah-Reum and his condition. After the documentary is screened, Ah-Reum begins to receive emails from another child who is sick, a young girl whose messages comfort him and provide hope as he tries to recount the love story of his parents as his final gift to them.[17]


Development and ProductionEdit

My Brilliant Life marks director E J-yong’s return to commercial filmmaking after spending previous years focusing on low budget experimental works such as Actresses (2009) and Behind the Camera (2013).[26] In a 2014 interview with South China Morning Post, actors Song Hye-kyo and Gang Dong-won spoke about their personal acting backgrounds and their interest in director E J-yong’s personal career up to the film. In regards to their decisions to sign on to My Brilliant Life, they stated that the script “read as more restrained, but nevertheless thought-provoking on the subjects of family and loss.” [26]

Principal photography began in 2013. Early on in production, director E J-yong recognized the need for advanced makeup techniques and special effects to age Jo Sung-mok, the child actor for Ah-Reum.[27] After months of research on costume makeup and its practitioners, Director Lee flew his makeup crew to Hollywood to study under special effects makeup artist Greg Cannom, whose work on films such as Fan (2016) and Bicentennial Man (1999) has earned him nine Academy Award nominations and three wins. After training in aging techniques and collaborating with Cannom to construct a detailed makeup process for the character of Ah-Reum, the makeup crew returned to Korea to begin initial filming. On the collaboration with Greg Cannom and the film’s usage of special effects makeup, Director E J-yong stated that, “the film could stand its ground against Hollywood flicks.” [28]

To prepare for the later scenes of the aged Ah-Reum, Jo Sung-mok underwent a daily 5-hour long makeup process to create wrinkles and age spots. The techniques used by the makeup artists was adapted from those used in the award-winning U.S. film, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, on which Greg Cannom served as head of the makeup department.[27]


Domestic ReleaseEdit

My Brilliant Life was released under CJ Entertainment in Korea on September 3, 2014.[15]

International ReleaseEdit

The film obtained a release contract with Beijing Culture Media in 2014. Spackman, the investment group which the film’s production company Zip Cinema is under, declined to clarify whether Chinese distribution would be treated as an import or revenue-sharing quota release when asked by reporters.[16] My Brilliant Life received official wide release in China on March 13, 2015. It was distributed by China Film Group, the largest state-owned film enterprise in China at the time. It opened on approximately 5,000 screens throughout the country.[15]

In Japan, Twin Co. acquired the film for mass distribution.[16]


Box OfficeEdit

As of October 2018, the film has been screened on 629 screens, with admission of 1,624,601 and a gross of USD 10,799,650, approximately 12.3 billion won, in South Korean box offices.[29] The demographics of male viewers and parents showed an especially strong response to the drama.[27]

For general audience response, My Brilliant Life came in third in its opening weekend, following the highly-popular gambling saga installment Tazza 2 (2014) and English-language French science fiction thriller film Lucy (2014). The film grossed a total of $7.89 million in its first three weekends.[30]

Film FestivalsEdit

In 2014, My Brilliant Life was invited to be screened at the 2015 Far East Film Festival in Udine, Italy as the selected representative for South Korea. The festival was held from April 23rd to May 2nd and was the European premiere of the film.[31] The film was also selected to be screened at the 34th Hawaii International Film Festival in 2014 as part of the event’s program, “Spotlight on Korea”. From October 30th to November 9th, the film was showcased in Oahu. From November 13th to November 16th, showcases were held in Kauai and Big Island.[32]

In 2015, the 5th Annual San Diego Asian Film Festival Spring Showcase showed My Brilliant Life as part of its presentation of the Pacific Arts Movement. From April 16th to April 25th, the film was screened as the official selection and the screenings represented the West Coast Premiere of My Brilliant Life.[33]

In June 2018, the film was screened at the London Korean Film Festival.[34]


Year Award Category Recipient(s) and Nominee(s) Result Reference
2015 Udine Far East Festival Audience Award My Brilliant Life Won [31]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "My Brilliant Life (2014)". Korean Film Biz Zone.
  2. ^ "Gang, Song Hye-kyo to star in new film". The Korea Times. 4 December 2013. Retrieved 2014-07-25.
  3. ^ Lee, Sun-min (3 December 2013). "Gang, Song to star in movie". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2014-07-25.
  4. ^ Lee, Cory (3 December 2013). "Gang Dong-won, Song Hye-kyo Cast in New Film". TenAsia. Archived from the original on 28 March 2014. Retrieved 2014-07-25. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  5. ^ Yoon, Ha-youn (15 October 2013). "Song Hae-kyo to star in My Palpitating Life". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 2014-07-25.
  6. ^ Lee, Sun-min (16 October 2013). "Song Hye-kyo selects movie". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2014-07-25.
  7. ^ Lee, Sun-min (5 August 2014). "Gang, Song talk My Palpitating Life". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2014-08-06.
  8. ^ "Song Hye-kyo, Gang Dong-won reveal My Brilliant Life". The Korea Herald. 4 August 2014. Retrieved 2014-08-04.
  9. ^ Sunwoo, Carla (8 August 2014). "A-listers bring to life sad story of a fast-aging boy". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2014-08-09.
  10. ^ Song, Soon-jin (5 December 2013). "GANG Dong-won and SONG Hye-kyo to Collaborate on Human Drama". Korean Film Biz Zone. Retrieved 2014-07-25.
  11. ^ "My Palpitating Life Kang Dong Won Auditioned for Scandal". KDramaStars. 3 August 2014. Retrieved 2014-08-04.
  12. ^ Choi, Jae-bong (2011). "My Palpitating Life". LIST Magazine. Archived from the original on 2013-12-03. Retrieved 2014-07-25. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  13. ^ "My Palpitating Life". Han Books. Retrieved 2014-07-25.
  14. ^ Conran, Pierce (4 May 2015). "Udine's Top Award Goes to ODE TO MY FATHER". Korean Film Biz Zone. Retrieved 2015-05-28.
  15. ^ a b c Frater, Patrick (March 12, 2015). "Korea's 'My Brilliant Life' Set for Wide Release in China". Variety. Retrieved November 16, 2018.
  16. ^ a b c Frater, Patrick (November 5, 2014). "Korean Drama 'My Brilliant Life' Sells to China, Japan". Variety. Retrieved November 16, 2018.
  17. ^ "My Brilliant Life (2014)". Korean Film Biz Zone. 2014.
  18. ^ Ahn, Sung-mi (27 August 2014). "Herald Interview: Song Hye-kyo faces the music". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 2014-09-03.
  19. ^ Jo, Yeon-kyung (29 August 2014). "Interview: Song Hye Kyo Believes She's Become More Masculine Over Time". enewsWorld. Retrieved 2014-09-03.
  20. ^ Jo, Yeon-kyung (10 September 2014). "Interview: Song Hye Kyo Swears Like an Ajumma in Real Life". enewsWorld. Retrieved 2014-09-20.
  21. ^ Ha, Soo-jung (4 August 2014). "Gang Dong Won Shares on Acting Opposite Song Hye Kyo in Film My Palpitating Life". enewsWorld. Retrieved 2014-08-04.
  22. ^ Hong, Grace Danbi (4 August 2014). "Gang Dong Won Remarks that Song Hye Kyo Isn't as Short as He Thought She Was". enewsWorld. Retrieved 2014-08-04.
  23. ^ Ha, Soo-jung (30 August 2014). "Interview: Gang Dong Won Worked Hard to Maintain His Weight for 12 Years". enewsWorld. Retrieved 2014-09-03.
  24. ^ Hong, Grace Danbi (26 August 2014). "Taetiseo to Appear in My Palpitating Life with Kang Dong Won". enewsWorld. Retrieved 2014-08-26.
  25. ^ Park, Gyu-oh (26 August 2014). "TaeTiSeo acted with Kang Dong-won in My Brilliant Life". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 2014-09-03.
  26. ^ a b Paquet, Darcy (13 Nov 2014). "Kang Dong-Won and Song Hye-Kyo Talk about Learning Life Lessons from My Brilliant Life". South China Morning Post. Retrieved December 6, 2018.
  27. ^ a b c "Special Effects Makeup Artists Help Create Movie Magic". 한국을 대표하는 글로벌 방송! The World On Arirang!. September 22, 2014. Retrieved November 16, 2018.
  28. ^ Sunwoo, Carla (August 8, 2014). "A-Listers Bring to Life Sad Story of a Fast-Aging Noy". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved November 16, 2018.
  29. ^ "My Brilliant Life (2014)". Korean Film Biz Zone. October 30, 2018. Retrieved November 16, 2018.
  30. ^ Lee, Hyo-won (September 9, 2014). "South Korea Box Office: 'Tazza 2' Makes Record Debut Over Holiday Break". Archived from the original on November 20, 2018. Retrieved December 1, 2018.
  31. ^ a b "My Brilliant Life". Far East Film 20 (20 Aprile - 28 Aprile 2018) - Home Page. Retrieved November 16, 2018.
  32. ^ "'My Brilliant Life' Invited to Hawaii International Film Festival". HIFF. Retrieved November 16, 2018.
  33. ^ "MY BRILLIANT LIFE". 2015 SDAFF Spring Showcase. Retrieved November 16, 2018.
  34. ^ "Korean Film". Retrieved November 16, 2018.

External linksEdit