A Barefoot Dream is another new Netflix UK offering – they’re really promoting South Korean entertainment at the moment (read about their new original Korean variety show set to drop in May here). Here at UnitedKpop, we’re ever so excited about all of these new shows!
The 2010 drama film is in-fact a co-production between South Korea and Japan. It is based on the true story of Kim Shin-hwan who goes to East Timor, a small island near Indonesia. He watches children play football barefoot, and decides to open a sports equipment shop. However, he soon realises that they are unable to afford shoes or jerseys to play football in. It is when his business collapses and he is forced to close his shop that the retired Korean footballer decides to set up a youth football team.
The Bend It Like Beckham comparisons are almost to be expected when you read the synopsis; young people overcoming struggles in order to participate in sports. Now, saying that, don’t expect a story that deals with anything outside of this narrative. There’s no heart-warming story about the general impact of poverty in South-East Asia. This is a 121 minute-long film about football in a less fortunate area. Despite that, the film has had a long-lasting impact; two of the boys from the real East Timor football team were accepted into a Korean university in 2012, two years after the film was released. The university has stated that they aim two accept two students from the region every year, opening up higher education to those who are less fortunate.
Within the film itself, there are very few particular high-points or note-worthy moments. The performance by Park Hee-soon as Coach Kim Won-kang is easily the best one, although still incredibly mediocre; he comes across genuine and likeable by the end of the film. Is this a must-watch production? No. Will it make you feel a small flurry of emotions and fill up some procrastination time? Yes.