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Sohn Ye-jin yearns for home as the tragic last Joseon princess

Home is a place where the comforts of family surround you in a warm embrace. Imagine one day, that you are forcefully taken from your home, and barred from returning for thirty-seven years. That’s what happened to Joseon’s Princess Deokhye. The newly released period film Last Princess (Princess Deokhye) tells the moving semi-fictionalized biography of the last Joseon princess, played by Sohn Ye-Jin (The Truth Beneath, The Pirates). Her co-star is Park Hae-il (The Informant), who plays Princess Deokhye’s childhood friend and bodyguard who helps her return to Korea.

The story starts out with the birth of the young princess who was the apple of the emperor’s eyes. Amidst the troubling politics of an increasingly aggressive Japanese regime, Princess Deokhye was the one spot of joy in the latter part of the Joseon ruler’s life. She grew up, adored and spoiled by all in the expansive palaces of Korea, until her father’s death.

By then, the Japanese presence in Korea had grown strong enough to demand that the imperial children be educated in Japan. So she, as her brothers before her, was forced to attend a Kyoto boarding school, away from any familiar faces. Yoon Jae-moon (Three Days) takes on the role of the Han Taek-soo, a Korean general and Japanese sympathizer, who was the chief proponent of Princess Deokhye’s removal from Korea. Princess Deokhye’s adolescent years in the movie are portrayed by Kim So-hyun (Bring It On, Ghost). 

When the Japanese realized that Princess Deokhye had become a symbol of hope, unity, and the national pride of the Joseon people, they conspired to keep her in Japan by marrying her off to a Japanese nobleman, played by Kim Jae-wook (Age of Feeling). Despite her strongest efforts to return home, she was trapped in this foreign land as a political hostage in a gilded cage.  

Even after the liberation of Korea at the end of World War II, Princess Deokhye was denied entry into her homeland because the new president, Lee Seung-man, believed that the young democracy was still unstable and feared her return would trigger a regression back to the Joseon monarchy. Hurtfully rejected by her country’s new government, she goes through a series of personal tragedies as she is living in Japan. She divorces her husband after years of unhappy marriage, but then is faced with the suicide of her mentally unstable daughter.

Finally, when she is an old woman in her fifth decade, she is allowed to come back to Korea after thirty-seven years in Japan. The new film, directed by Heo Jin-ho of Dangerous Liaisons and Christmas in August, captures the long and difficult years wrought with painful longing that Princess Deokhye spends desperately reaching for home. 

Via Hankook Sports, ETNews

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owwww, that shot of the teenage princess walking out of the palace in a kimono with the court ladies all saying goodbye to her, actually hurts to watch.

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I know! Kudos to the casting team by the way, because this last shot of the teenage princess followed by the grown-up version at the piano looks like it's the same person! Awesome job by Kim So-hyun and Sohn Ye-jin.

Oh my...As you said, it hurts to watch...
I've been interested by Princess Deokhye's story for a long time, and I've shed some tears just reading articles or watching videos about her life.
I don't know how I'll handle a whole movie...

But I'm so glad it's almost there! I've been waiting for years for this movie to finally come out!

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Wait, wait, wait!!! "Finally when she an old woman in her fifth decade..." I resemble that remark! ;-)

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Haha, I was going to make this comment. I'm not quite there yet but close enough to cringe.

Other than that, the movie looks like it'll be good!

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Exactly my thoughts! Wow, an "old" woman in her 50s.....

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Oh gosh! Looking like Sohn Ye-jin in old age isn't so bad though.

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Do you mean, you "resent" that remark?

If so,why? 50 is old. She would be in menopause. Assuming an average life expectancy of 72-75, she is well past middle age.

If you live in America, 50 is the age you qualify to join AARP.

Nothing wrong with getting old. Youth is overrated anyway.

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I'm 20 and I found that to be odd. 50 isn't usually considered old. And the way the sentence is structured is a bit strange.

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East Asia at the dusk of traditional imperial rule = terrible, terrible times. All these "last" emperors, queens, princes, and princesses led incredibly tragic lives, and the life of Princess Deokhye was among the saddest.

I don't know if the movie will touch upon this, but the real Princess Deokhye suffered from mental illness throughout her life (which was likely triggered by the severe trauma of her teenage years). In addition to alarming symptoms, she was stuck in and our of hospitals. Her marriage was unhappy and ended in divorce. Her only daughter committed suicide when she was only 23. By the time Deokhye was allowed back in Korea, her condition had deteriorated, but amazingly and poignantly she still remembered traditional court customs.

So, if anything, the movie got the "home" part right. Because that really is the one mercy granted in an otherwise tragic life. At least she was allowed the peace to live her old age on home soil-- unlike Wanrong, China's last empress, who died young in a communist prison camp.

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How would it have been to live in those times.. I cannot even begin to imagine the hardship, suffering, and pain. The one movie I HAVE to see. Just the trailer alone, seeing SYJ crying while being dragged away was enough to make me cry and mourn in my heart.

Does anyone know if this is hitting theaters in America??

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"those times" ............there are plenty who endure hardship, suffering, and pain in present time all around the world.

at least she had food and shelter, some poor souls don't even have that and work hard labor as children today

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Of course, my comment was in no way nullifying or disregarding the pain and suffering of this world today. I was merely sympathizing with a true life story set in a time of immense tragedy concerning my ancestors, my background, my history, and my blood. I hope you know that others are allowed to feel greater connection and sympathy to certain events and certain ethnic history because it's what makes us who we are today. And I hope you are mature enough to realize that sympathizing with one's pain does not mean making another's lesser by any means.

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Sophie <3.

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i think you need to chill and not nitpick.

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@upi I absolutely despise comments like yours. "Someone else's pain is greater than yours so you should be grateful for what you already have and shut up." That's pretty much what you're saying. Not only are you marginalizing someone else's sorrow and tragedy, but it seems you didn't even read what happened to Princess Deokhye and what her life story means to Korean people. Her exile to Japan was like pouring and stuffing salt into the burns Japan inflicted on Korea when they overthrew the Joseon Dynasty and erased who we were as people and our long history and culture. Princess Deokhye represented what was the last of Joseon and what was the beginning of the cruelty and greed of a fledgling democratic government ruled by dictators. Take your salty attitude elsewhere because Korean people and others who empathize and understand have no need of it. By your logic, child laborers shouldn't complain about their lives because, hey, they have it better than infants who die everyday, right? Sounds ridiculous now, doesn't it?

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It's easy to look back with colored lenses and beautify the Joseon dynasty. But it was a time corrupt officials and nobles and the lives of peasants were miserable. Sadly, the lives of commoners under a corrupt local government vs the Japanese couldn't have been much different. As for the ensuing dictatorships (kings & dictators aren't too different), they brought industrialization and broad prosperity for all portions of the population. The successful economic policies are difficult to separated from the dictatorship as they would have only been possible through iron mandates.

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"Semi fictionalized"? Does that mean some events in the movie aren't true? I honestly am excited about this film since researching about extinct royal monarchies.

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And I know this story doesn't have a happy ending. ?

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Yes or is being exaggerated. Anything closer to the truth is a documentary.

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Usually means a lot of sanitizing to not offend anyone.

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I cannot imagine how good this movie is going to be, I'm already in tears after watching the trailer ? Can't wait for the official DVD to be out as I doubt it will be shown here, a must buy for my collection ?

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Crying along with you...
I also think that it's already a must-have, in one's movie collection! I hope to see the movie shown abroad *fingers crossed*

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Glad to see Sohn Ye-Jin back in a serious role. Park Hae-il <3.

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Oh, this princess. I read about her and my heart just shatterred.

People can be so cruel.

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Same here....this princess has an extremely sad story......Human are the most cruel species....we have a choice yet we make the wrong and downright heartless ones more often than the right ones.

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I had no idea the Joseon era was so long.
The movie seems like it will be heartbreaking. I do want to watch though.

And I see what Kim Jae Wook has been up to. I really want to see him play a happier guy one day soon . It's been a long time.

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wow whenever i read article about her it's always news about his new movies, son ye jin and Kim so hyun face is so similar like twin, i'm sure when kim so hyun at 25years ols something, her face turning like son ye jin

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I havent had coffee yet so please forgive me cos my first thought after skimming this post is "She is unhappy with Kim Jae Wook.."

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LOL

Though to be honest, I was like ? too

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That teaser had me tearing up but your comment made me smile again. XD

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Same thought here. But I guess not even Kim Jae Wook can make a political marriage with no love or liking into a happy one.

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I read the story long time ago, and now to watch the trailer... it hurts to get a glimpse of her struggle to go back to her home country. Why does everything with "The Last" always have tragic and unhappy ending?

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Wow! That trailer absolutely blew me away! What a riveting and heartbreaking trailer. I'm so excited for this movie. I know I'm going to bawl like a baby watching this movie when it comes out.

Also, I did not know that Kim So Hyun was playing the younger part! I'm so happy for her. I read somewhere that she was called little "Son Ye Jin" because they look alike. She also mentioned wanting to do a project with Son Ye Jin and here she is playing her younger counterpart! She must be so happy to finally be able to be in the same project as Son Ye Jin. :)

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Ahhhhhh! I've been waiting for this movie since news first broke out about it! Seems like a very heartbreaking story. I've missed Son Ye Jin so much! I wish she would come back to the small screen though. Really miss her in dramas. However, I do think she's doing really well with her recent movies and that she's better suited for movies rather than dramas.

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I'm already teary-eyed just by reading the synopsis and seeing the screencaps. I'll be a mess after the end of the movie.

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I love Son Ye Jin too much to not watch this! lol

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The Last Emperor : Joseon Edition. There's always something so heartwrenching about these monarchs who had their lives turn completely upside down, like wayyyy down, due to the changing time.

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I've been looking forward to watching this movie, especially since the leads are Son Ye-jin and Park Hae-il who are both absolutely mesmerizing. But then I realize I basically love the whole cast. I've been really enjoying these modern historical Korean movies recently, and I'm sure I'll be enjoying this one too. I mean, that trailer alone is just breathtaking.

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Oh, wow. This is just epic. That scene with KSH was just beautifully shot. And SYJ looks great in all of her scenes. I still look back to when I first saw her in The Classic. My, how time flies. Glad to see SYJ still around and still starring in these types of projects.

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I must see this movie!

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the trailer look so promising. I can't wait to watch this....

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The teaser was beautiful. Probably won't watch it because it will take forever to get here and I don't consume sad entertainment.

But glad to have KJW back on my radar. I looked him up to see when I had last seen him *Marry Me, Mary ugh* and got this tidbit of his life.

"Outside of music & acting, Kim Jae-Wook's hobbies include reading, baseball and soccer. He also enjoys cleaning in his spare time. It usually takes Kim Jae-Wook about 4-5 hours to finish cleaning. Afterwards, when he looks over his clean home he feels a sense of pride. While cleaning, Kim Jae-Wook finds he can contemplate on matters running through his mind. Stylistically, Kim Jae-Wook prefers an easy style and he keeps a personal rule that he never washes his jeans"

Didn't think I could love him more. Cleaning for 4-5 hours is totally endearing. I do the same and feel that pride of a clean house. And reading & an easy style, it was like seeing a snippet about me. Except for the jeans thing, I don't get that. Though I do have a personal rule not to dry them *I guess that's in a similar vein*

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Kim Jae Wook a japanese again?! I mean I think even if the was born in Japan he wouldn't interpreted so many japaneses

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Back then people said I look like Son Ye-jin, later on they said I look like Kim So-hyun, then I happened to know Kim So-hyun was said to look like Son Ye-jin, so I was like, "Ah ~ So it's like that." Interesting to see both of them as younger-older of each other in the same movie now, and which looks like a wonderful movie at that.

*Go ahead and add the movie to must-watch list.*

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