The world of cinema is a treasure trove of stories that plunge us into a whirl of emotions. They captivate our hearts and minds, often leaving us with lingering questions. One such poignant narrative unfolds in the Netflix original, 20th Century Girl, a South Korean romantic drama that has stirred up a storm of queries among viewers, particularly around the mysterious death of a key character, Poong Woon Ho. But the question remains, how did Poong Woon Ho died? Let’s unravel this enigma.
An Intriguing Introduction to ’20th Century Girl’
20th Century Girl, penned and directed by Bang Woo Ri, is a heartfelt love story that explores the complexities of young love and friendship. Released in October 2022, the film quickly climbed the charts to be among the top 5 most-watched movies on Netflix.
The movie follows the story of a teen girl keeping close tabs on a boy in school on behalf of her deeply smitten best friend. Eventually, the teenage girl gets swept up in a love story of her own. It happens in 1999.
Byeon Woo Seok plays the main character Poong Woon ho, with the rest of the cast Kim Yoo jung as Na Bo ra, Roh Yoon seo as Kim Yeon du, Park Jung woo as Baek Hyun jin, Ong Seong wu as Poong Junbo, and Han Hyo joo as Na Bo Ra.
The Enigmatic Character of Poong Woon Ho
Poong Woon Ho is introduced as a new student at Bo-ra’s school. A product of divorce, he stays with his father in Korea, while his mother and younger brother live in New Zealand. His initial demeanor is one of quiet sadness, perhaps stemming from the emotional aftermath of his parents’ separation. However, a transformation occurs after he develops feelings for Bo-ra — the once-somber teen gradually begins to smile.
The Love Story That Wasn’t Meant to Be
The budding romance between Bo-ra and Woon-ho takes a surprising turn when Bo-ra’s best friend, Yeon-du, returns from her heart surgery in the states. It is then revealed that Woon-ho, who was mistaken for another boy due to a mix-up with a school jacket, is actually the object of Yeon-du’s affections. In a painful twist of fate, Bo-ra ends her relationship with Woon-ho to spare her friend’s feelings. This decision marks the beginning of a heartbreaking journey that sees Woon-ho preparing to move to New Zealand while Bo-ra suffers in silence.
The Promised Reunion That Never Happened
Despite their separation, Woon-ho promises Bo-ra that he will stay in touch and that they will meet again. For a while, they maintain their relationship through emails, even planning to attend the same college in Seoul. However, their correspondence abruptly ends after New Year’s eve of 2000, leaving Bo-ra distraught and puzzled. The mystery around Woon-ho’s silence remains unsolved until years later, when Bo-ra receives a VHS tape and a letter from an artist named Joseph.
The Tragic Revelation: How Did Poong Woon Ho Die?
At an art exhibition, Joseph unveils that he is Woon-ho’s younger brother and discloses the heartbreaking news of Woon-ho’s death fifteen years ago. The details of his demise, however, remain undisclosed. It’s hinted that Woon-ho died while traveling to Korea, presumably in an accident, but the exact cause is left to the audience’s speculation.
The VHS tape that Bo-ra receives is filled with cherished memories of her school days, her friends, and most importantly, her time with Woon-ho. The tape concludes with Woon-ho’s final love confession to Bo-ra, revealing his plans to return to Korea for a reunion that, tragically, never happens.
The Unsaid Goodbye
Although the cause of Woon-ho’s untimely death is not explicitly stated, the movie leaves behind subtle clues. It’s suggested through Joseph’s lamentation that Woon-ho’s demise was linked to his journey back to Korea, possibly hinting at a fatal mishap during his voyage.
The Bittersweet Aftermath and the Enduring Love
The shocking revelation of Woon-ho’s fate casts a tragic shadow over his love story with Bo-ra. The news of his death deeply affects Bo-ra, who considers him her “forever” person. Despite the sadness it brings, Woon-ho’s memory lives on in Bo-ra’s heart, immortalizing their love story.
An Enigmatic End to a Beautiful Love Story
The story of 20th Century Girl beautifully portrays the essence of young love while leaving a bittersweet aftertaste with the untimely death of Poong Woon Ho. His demise and the mystery surrounding it have sparked numerous discussions and theories among fans. The film masterfully leaves the audience with a lingering question: how did Poong Woon Ho die? It’s a poignant reminder of life’s unpredictability and the enduring nature of love.