Jonathan White’s review published on Letterboxd:
This is my third watch now, and I still love it as much as the first; maybe even more. I haven’t reviewed it, really. I’ve written a few lines about my love, but that’s it. Usually when I write a review, I reflect and deconstruct a film. Often times it changes my perspective and perception. This is why I had apprehension about going through this process with Castaway on the Moon. I was afraid by analyzing, it would lose some of its wonderful charm.
An argument could be put forth that Castaway on the Moon is a clever commentary on modern sociological problems, increasing dependency on technology, and how we are all becoming more alone. I think to view the film with that critical mindset would do nothing but diminish it. While all those components are there, I don’t think they are the ones director/writer Lee Hey-jun wanted us to ‘see’, he simply wanted us to relate to, and feel for, his two lonely protagonists. Mission accomplished. 100%.
Lee has created one of the most original contrivances for a well worn genre, and his execution is absolutely perfect in every way. He blends bitterness, hopelessness, hope, and joy in a uniquely touching and funny way. Lee doesn’t beg for laughs, but they come. Not big ones, rather gentle knowing chuckles. He doesn’t beg for tears, but they come, not in gushes, but maybe in a tiny drop or two. Lee simply lets his story unfold for us to judge.
What I did notice on this viewing is that in one of the most climatic ‘overcoming all obstacles’ scenes was completely devoid of score. Only after it completed were we rewarded with some simple strains just to let us know we were right. Simple touches like this abound throughout the film, and demonstrate that Lee really knows his craft.
Cheers to the Letterboxd community, particularly the Matriarch of Castaway on the Moon: Simone, for spreading the word and bringing this completely unknown film, even in its native land, to so many. It’s a particular joy that is not often felt. To quote from my original non-review; ‘A perfect gem.’