DirkH’s review published on Letterboxd:
There are many films that celebrate life, there are very few films that manage to do that with a perfect balance between a laugh and a tear, without ever getting cheap or melodramatic.
Castaway on the Moon is a film that takes a ridiculous premise, finds humour in it and inhabits it with two quirky characters that are each other's mirrored image, codependent without knowing it at first. One on the verge of ending his life, the other afraid of life and imprisoning herself. It is perhaps not entirely accurate to call them star crossed lovers as we meet them at the start of their magical encounter, but the romantic in me feels the need to call them just that. They are linked in a profound way, each trapped in their own self imposed isolation, each re-evaluating and re-appreciating life through the other.
This film is genuinely funny. It had me laughing out loud on numerous occasions and in other lighter moments had me grinning like an idiot. This exactly the kind of absurd and off kilter humour I love and Jeong Jae-Yeong's comedic timing and mimicry are perfect.
On the flip-side of the more lighter moments there are pockets of gripping drama and bitter sweet emotions. The heavier atmosphere comes from the apartment of hermit girl Kim who lives a virtual life and never leaves her room. By chance she discovers the castaway (also called Kim) and from that moment her life changes, becoming obsessed with his well-being and for the first time feeling the urge to go outside. She communicates with him by using messages in a bottle, emphasizing the fact that she is a castaway as well. She is an intriguing character driven by routine and seemingly in a constant state of melancholy. Until she meets her 'alien' who is stranded, like her, on a deserted island of his own.
Suicide isn't a topic I'm particularly fond of in films, but here it is used as an instigator to get the plot's motor running. It isn't about death, it's about life. Sure, the male Kim relapses in the role of the victim once in a while, wondering why the world is against him. His new appreciation he slowly finds for his life is infectious and beautiful. Two scenes that capture this perfectly like not many other films have been able to do will stay with me forever. One involves Kim sucking nectar from flowers he finds on the island and the other involves a bowl of noodles (if you've seen the film, you know what I mean). Both involve tears of complete and utter joy that come straight from the heart and found its way to my own with the greatest of ease.
The ending is a bit too convenient, but I didn't care as I was completely involved in these two damaged human beings that fix themselves by finding a connection in the oddest of circumstances. Castaway on the Moon is a magical farce that is life affirming and heartwarming.