My Fantastic Funeral
나의 판타스틱한 장례식
SBS (2015) 2 Episodes
Romance, Melodrama, Grade: A
Korean Drama Review by Jill, USA

When Korean drama fans are smart enough to watch some short K-dramas, in between the longer dramas that get more press attention, often they can be surprised to find hidden gems, like this two-episode, bittersweet charmer, My Fantastic Funeral (2015). I immediately recognized the two lead actors from previous dramas and films I had loved: Kyung Soo Jin (Shark, That Winter, The Wind Blows, A Still Picture) and Choi Woo Shik from Parasite (plus: Rooftop Prince, Pride and Prejudice, You're All Surrounded, Dr. Frost) and knew right off the bat that they would give me two beautiful performances, and they did. Although the subject was overall sad and melancholy, there were moments of humor and lovely serenity that made this mini-drama well worth watching. Since there is basically a spoiler in the title I will provide major plot points ahead of time for this review, but the journey through the story is beautiful on its own.

Excellent Actress Kyung Soo Jin

The overall theme of this mini-drama is a rather novel one: a professional college teacher, played by Kyung Soo Jin, discovers she is terminal and realizes that she doesn't want a traditional Korean funeral where relatives, friends, and acquaintances come to pay their respects AFTER she's gone, but that she'd like them all to come on the same day and celebrate her life with her BEFORE she leaves. This is a very healing decision for her, and allows her to move on to her next life with no regrets. This actress was the perfect choice to portray all the emotions involved with coming to that life-affirming decision: she just has that kind of volatile appearance in her face and body language, and I've seen it in each performance of hers in the past. Choi Woo Shik was perfect too, with his boyish appearance, but still able to convey great depths of compassion as he watches his sweetheart dying.

he Story

University Philosophy teacher - Ph.D. candidate Jang Mi Soo (Kyung Soo Jin) hears from her doctor that a brain tumor she had had several years earlier, which she thought she had conquered, has returned. This time the tumor cells are so aggressive that she is told she only has a few months to live and that she is not operable. She is given some chemo and pain drugs in the interim and then realizes she has some major decisions to make about her life, and death.


What kind of funeral should she have? She thinks about having an older friend be the head mourner, since her father died and she is estranged from her birth mother, but this friend is eager to go to America and see her adult son there. She considers asking an old boyfriend Se Ho (
handsome Yu Ha Jun, I Need Romance 3, The Princess' Man, Watcher) to do the honors, but then finds out he had cheated on her while they were going together, so that is out. Another young friend (Park Jin Joo) had recently died of cancer too, so that option is out as well. She asks the aunt to lunch who had raised her after her mother had abandoned her, but they aren't close either - the aunt had basically raised her so that she could gain access to an inheritance from Mi Soo's late father. (Btw, "auntie" is played by character actress Lee Jung Eun, who was in Parasite, too, but she isn't credited for this role on trivia sites; in fact this drama isn't credited anywhere on asianwiki, not listed on any of the stars' bios; that needs to be fixed).

Mi Soo then runs into Park Dong Soo (Choi Woo Shik), an old schoolmate who had had a crush on her. He is now a professional window & building cleaner, and once he spots her through her apartment window, becomes obsessed with her all over again, constantly following her everywhere. She is leery of him at first and brushes him off, but as each person in her life continues to disappoint her in various ways, and he's always there to cheer her up, in her loneliness and despair she starts to fall in love with him. He finds out in an accidental way that she is going to die, but he doesn't let on. He doesn't want her to think he cares about her only out of pity. Eventually she confesses her "secret" (above), but he already knows it.

Dong Soo, who once had had a heart transplant, also discovers that he will die soon, unless he gets a new heart, but the waiting list is long and he may not survive it. You can probably guess what's coming: Mi Soo, because she now loves him, determines to give him her heart once she has passed on. However, before that happens she dearly wants to make peace with all the people who will be left behind after she goes to heaven, and this she does, in a very beautiful, meaningful way. She has her Fantastic Funeral after all, while she's still living.


This is a very uplifting, inspiring short drama, and well worth your time. Don't miss it.