miss granny movie

15 Entertaining Korean Family Movies [2024 Edition]

K-dramas are known for their powerful storytelling, and the same magic applies to many classic Korean family movies.

These 15 iconic Korean movies appeal to all ages, so you can even enjoy them with your family:

Contents

1. The Beauty Inside (2015)

Genre: Romantic comedy
Where to watch: Amazon Prime | Google Play

“The Beauty Inside” has a wacky plot: every day, the protagonist wakes up in a different body.

This is what Woo-jin has to go through. Sometimes he’s a kid, sometimes he’s an elderly person, and he even switches genders. But through it all, his identity and consciousness remain constant.

There’s another constant in his life: he falls in love with Yi-soo, a beautiful furniture designer, who somehow sees his true self and stays with him even as he changes bodies.

Despite the unusual premise, the romance is handled well here. I was aching for the characters because they really want to be together despite Woo-jin’s surreal situation.

2. Marathon (2005)

Genre: Drama
Where to Watch: Amazon Prime

When this movie was released around 20 years ago, it was a huge hit in Korea, and it made the term for autism (자폐증) more well-known.

Based on a true story, it’s about an autistic young man who discovers that he has a unique talent for running. His single mother finds out about this and encourages him to train for a full marathon.

It’s far from an easy journey though, because he also has to deal with society’s prejudices against autism. To top it off, his coach underestimates him at first, only to eventually admire his determination.

3. Exit (2019)

Genre: Action
Where to Watch: Amazon Prime

Yong-nam, an unemployed and somewhat aimless rock climber, is celebrating his mother’s 70th birthday at a banquet hall. Then he runs into his crush, Eui-ju, who works there.

Here’s the exciting part: because of a terrorist attack, toxic gas is suddenly released all over the city, making people panic and trapping them in high-rise buildings. Yong-nam and Eui-ju get stuck too, so they try to escape–combining Yong-nam’s rock climbing skills with Eui-ju’s resourcefulness.

It’s definitely a comedy at first, but then unexpected events keep happening. I literally couldn’t stop watching it because of all the action!

4. Miracle: Letters to the President (2021)

Genre: Drama
Where to Watch: Amazon Prime

This poignant movie is set in a remote mountain village back in the 1980s. There’s no train system there, so the residents struggle with transportation.

Jun-kyung, a high school student, decides to do something about it and build a train station for his village. After all, he’s a math prodigy who’s interested in engineering.

To fulfill this dream, Jun-kyung persistently starts writing letters to the president to request support for his project. He doesn’t give up, even capturing the attention of government officials and inspiring the other villagers.

I found it very moving because it shows the power of holding on to your dreams, no matter how crazy. 

If you’re itching to learn more about Korea, then I recommend you binge on some good documentaries too, here’s my top 16 Korean documentaries:

5. Extreme Job (2019)

Genre: Comedy
Where to watch: Amazon Prime | Google Play

“Extreme Job” is one of the highest-grossing Korean movies of all time. It had me cracking up a lot (and it started a fried chicken craze back when it was aired too).

A team of five detectives uncovers a major drug trafficking operation. They’re desperate to make a breakthrough, so they decide to run a chicken restaurant that’s right across the drug gang’s hideout.

Of course, their motive is to monitor the gang, but their chicken restaurant becomes unexpectedly popular and draws in countless customers. This leads to hilarious scenarios, from creating strange recipes to multitasking with cooking and spying.  

6. Miss Granny (2014)

Genre: Comedy
Where to Watch: Netflix

“Miss Granny” was such a success that it led to multiple versions across different countries, including China, Philippines, Japan, Indonesia and Vietnam.

In the original Korean film, Mal-soon is a grumpy 74-year-old widow. Her family wants to send her to a nursing home, but then she stumbles on a mysterious photo studio.

After having her picture taken, Mal-soon miraculously becomes 20 years old again. With a newfound zest for life, she embraces this unexpected chance, even renaming herself “Oh Doo-ri” after her favorite actress, Audrey Hepburn, and joining a band.

It’s a lighthearted, feel-good movie, so both kids and adults can enjoy it.

7. Along with the Gods: The Two Worlds (2017)

Genre: Fantasy
Where to watch: Google Play

“Along with the Gods” is another top-grossing Korean movie.

Kim Ja-hong is a firefighter who dies heroically in the line of duty. In the afterlife, he’s greeted by three guardians who tell him that he has to pass through trials to reincarnate.

These trials are set in seven hells, and each trial corresponds to a specific sin, like injustice and violence. It’s a bit of a character study because his morality gets continuously tested, with revelations and flashbacks about his life.

Aside from having great visual effects (and creative supernatural characters), It’ll also get you pondering about philosophical questions.

8. My Paparotti (2013)

Genre: Drama
Where to watch: Amazon Prime

As you might have guessed from the title, this mentor-student film is about a teenager who’s very talented at opera singing.

Jee-hon comes from a troubled background, but he has an extraordinary voice that’s similar to the legendary tenor Luciano Pavarotti. He then enrolls in a high school known for its music program, where he meets Sang-jin, a former opera singer who’s now a music teacher

Sang-jin is skeptical of Jee-hoon at first, but then he gradually recognizes Jee-hoon’s potential. Even though a lot of people don’t think Jee-hoon will succeed, the two stick together and change each other’s lives.   

9. House of Hummingbird (2018)

Genre: Drama
Where to watch: Amazon Prime

This coming-of-age drama focuses on Eun-hee, a 14-year-old living in Seoul in 1994. She’s struggling with being a teenager because she feels isolated, with her parents constantly fighting and siblings who aren’t close to her.

At the same time, she tries to explore her sexuality and experiences her first crush. She also forges a meaningful connection with Young-ji, a new cram school teacher who’s supportive of her.

It’s very realistic, and it gave me flashbacks about my teenage years (and all the painful awkwardness that involved). The director even said it was based on her own life!

10. Space Sweepers (2021)

Genre: Sci-fi
Where to watch: Netflix

This is Korea’s first space blockbuster. If you’re a fan of “Guardians of the Galaxy,” then you’ll likely enjoy this too.

Since it’s almost impossible to live on Earth, a crew with four members has to salvage ship debris for survival.

They then stumble on Dorothy, a human-like robot that’s known to be dangerous. Her bounty is very high, so they see this as an opportunity to sell her for a huge amount of money.

This attracts dangerous situations, though, and as they learn more about Dorothy’s true nature, they start to question whether they should really push through.

11. My Sassy Girl (2001)

Genre: Romantic comedy
Where to watch: Amazon Prime

The original “My Sassy Girl” movie was what got me hooked on Korean films.

Gyeon-woo, an average college student, finds himself in a whirlwind relationship with the Girl, whose name is never revealed. They meet by chance while she’s drunk, and the Girl starts to involve Gyeon-woo in her turbulent life, even forcing him to crossdress in public and sending him on seemingly pointless errands.

Even though the Girl is a bit temperamental, Gyeon-woo becomes deeply attached to her, and he patiently tries to understand her.

It’s a quirky and unconventional love story, and it’s a landmark movie that you can’t miss out on.

Want to watch more movies about entrancing love and shattering heartbreak? Check out these 15 Korean romance movies:

12. Sunny (2011)

Genre: Drama
Where to watch: Viki

Na-mi, a middle-aged woman, encounters her terminally ill high school friend, Chun-hwa, who wants to reunite their group of friends one last time.

Because of this, Na-mi tries to track down each of them. The story alternates between the two timelines: their student life in the 1980’s and their present life. As Na-mi reconnects with her friends, you’ll learn about each of their lives and see how time has changed them.

 “Sunny” is more of a dramedy because it’s very sweet and funny. It also does a great job of depicting female friendship.

13. The Odd Family: Zombie on Sale (2019)

Genre: Horror 
Where to watch: Amazon Prime | Disney Plus

Korea has several zombie movies that have made quite a splash, but this one stands out because it’s a comedy.

The Park family runs a struggling gas station in a rural village. But then they encounter a zombie who doesn’t seem that dangerous. Instead of being scared, they try to make money with it.

They start a business marketing the zombie’s ability to rejuvenate people by biting them. Their plans backfire quickly, though, as a zombie breakout takes over the village.

I wholeheartedly recommend it because a lot of crazy things happen, the characters are likable and silly, and there’s even some satire.

14. Little Forest (2018)

Genre: Slice of life
Where to watch: Amazon Prime

If you’re looking for a calm, soothing movie, then “Little Forest” might be right up your alley. It’s adapted from a Japanese manga, and it’s full of peaceful nature shots and cooking scenes.

Hye-won is disillusioned with living in the city, so she returns to her rural hometown. As the seasons change, she reconnects with the simplicity of country life, trying out farming and preparing meals from scratch with local ingredients.

It’s an introspective film that shows Hye-won gradually finding herself. She often eats with her childhood friends, Jae-ha and Eun-sook, who have their own stories of coming to terms with their paths in life.

15. Psychokinesis (2018)

Genre: Horror
Where to watch: Netflix

“Psychokinesis” is Korea’s first superhero film, and it has the same director as “Train to Busan.”

Suk-hun, a security guard, unexpectedly gets telekinetic powers after drinking water from a mountain spring. Instead of using his new abilities for personal gain, he decides to help out his estranged daughter, Roo-mi.

She’s fighting a corrupt construction company that’s trying to evict her and her neighbors from their homes. With his telekinesis, Suk-hun steps in and supports her cause.

Since it veers away from the usual superhero narrative of grand battles of good and evil, it’s quite a refreshing watch. The visual effects are stunning too!

 

Many of these movies are well-known in Korea and even sparked trends in Korean cinema. They’re ideal for relaxing movie nights at home, especially when you’re looking for a wholesome watch with friends or family.

For more must-watch Korean movies (with other genres included), check out this list:

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