Good Morning President (굿모닝 프레지던트)
This film outlines moral and political decisions confronted by three successive presidents, taking viewers on a roller coaster of presidential narratives. First, President Kim Jeong-ho (Lee Soon-jae) wins a lottery and must decide if he’ll keep the money for himself or reinvest the winnings in Korea’s infrastructure as he had promised. Months later, his protégé Cha Ji-wook (Jang Dong-gun) assumes office as the attractive “Korean JFK.” President Cha must use diplomatic savvy to meander troublesome waters as North Korea’s missile testing provokes Japan’s maritime fleet into a “defensive,” albeit aggressive, response. Facing increasing U.S. pressure, but feeling sympathetic towards Korea’s communist neighbor, he must seek a solution that satisfies all parties.
Finally, female President Han Kyeong-ja (Ko Doo-sim) gains the presidency under a doubting opposition. Hardly a year into her term, her troublesome husband cannot cope with his “First Husband” pressures and creates a scandal through a past property purchase. Unable to handle his diplomatic duties, he divorces the president, allowing her to carry out her presidential duties without distraction. The events force her to balance the nation’s interest against Korea’s emphasis on family support and structure. While awkward in nature, the storyline has certain feel-good aspects and viewers are able to form a relationship with each individual leader. A steady flow of events counteracts the meandering of the film, making it less unbearable. Supporting characters, notably the president’s chef, compliment the public figures nicely and insert voices of reason.
Presenting a side of presidents the public is very much unfamiliar with, and accentuating their human characteristics is what makes this film a success and enjoyable. Well worth a viewing if the opportunity presents itself.