Larry’s review published on Letterboxd:
A cry for help turned into a hello. A suicide attempt turned into a lost life found. 2 people who are aliens in their own home world.
Castaway on the Moon is all of those things, on top of one of the most strange and uniquely beautiful cinematic experiences I've ever seen. I found it in that strange part of Netflix where a majority of people probably don't tread. I had only heard this film name dropped, but I knew nothing about the plot or what the film will make you feel...
The plot focuses on a man who is neck deep in debt, unemployed and recently heartbroken. He is in a place emotionally that some of us have been before. Hopeless, lost, uncertain about the future. He decides to take extreme measures and and take a suicidal leap off a bridge over the Han River in South Korea. The attempt doesn't go down as expected and the next thing he knows, he is washed up on the shores of a small littered island right in the middle of the river, and right under the bridge he leapt off of. The small island is a natural paradise right in the middle of urban chaos. Speeding cars pass over his head and the trash of the city washes up just like him on the sandy shores. He is JUST out of swimming (if he COULD swim) and shouting distance from the rest of the world on either sides of the river. His cell phone is dead and no one knows where he is at. It's a funny situation. He is trapped and alone right in the middle of of a few million people. It's here on this island that he ditches his suicidal attitude and focuses on living on his own and utilizing his terrible survival skills. He drinks water straight from the dirty river, spears his foot trying to catch fish, and gets shit on by birds. He gets better though and he eventually learns to get food, writes a large "help" message in the sand and he even cultivates his own small farm. He discovers that life is simpler here and more in touch with the natural world. It's beautiful and sad at the same time. The man now has something to live for, and small things give him hope. He abandons existential thoughts in favor of appreciating the simplicity and beauty of life. He thinks he is alone, but he has a secret admirer.
His number one fan is another lost soul who lives day to day in a meaningless void of existence. She is a young woman who has not left her room in years, lives multiple fake lives on the Internet, and has to hypnotize herself to fall asleep. She lives in her own filth and is disconnected from the world outside. But is she at fault? The outside world turned that man suicidal. Maybe she knows something we don't? One day she looks out her window and scans the river banks with her camera. And then she spots the man and his message in the sand. She spies on him for months and fancies him for being another loner in the sea of faceless people. They are both aliens if you will. The way they eventually find out mod each others existence and their eventual communication is heartwarming. I won't spoil how their relationship turns out, but just know that despite its strangeness, this films makes other romance movies look like shit.
I highly recommend checking this one out. Don't read too much about it and go into it openminded. You won't be disappointed. You may or may not find yourself and feel hopeful.
And you might have a strange urge to try some black beans and noodles!