“Switch,” the new Korean fantasy comedy-drama directed by Ma Dae-Yoon and starring Oh Jung-se, Kim Mi-Kyung, and Lee Min-Jung, revolves around Park Kang, a successful but lonely movie star whose life takes a dramatic turn on Christmas when he wakes up in an alternate reality and finds himself married to his ex-girlfriend with two kids.
A Movie Star Wakes Up In An Alternate Reality
The movie begins with movie star Park Kang living a life of excess. He wakes up in bed beside his latest flame, a young actress named Lee Ha-Young. She is startled after getting notifications that their fling has gone public, fearing a scandal. While she is worried about her pictures floating online, he doubts Young for having leaked their photos online for the sake of gaining more fame. She becomes furious at this allegation and storms off. Park Kang is not too flustered by this. He meets his manager and heads off to meet his doctor. On the way, he talks to his mother, who is on a spree to buy expensive purses.
He complains to his doctor about not sleeping well, expressing his general unease in life. We then see Kang on a movie set forgetting his lines and showing no humility; on the contrary, he acts even more entitled. His manager tells him about an award show that night. Kang asks whether he will win the best actor’s award, and the manager assures him he will as he fixed the award beforehand.
Kang reaches the award ceremony looking confident and basks in the limelight. As planned, he wins the award and receives it from Young, who mouths expletives that get captured on camera. He feigns a heartfelt speech in which he says he feels grateful for the award. He reminisces about his time as a struggling actor ten years ago and promises to always remember his roots. The award is being telecast on television, and we see Soo-Hyun, Kang’s ex-girlfriend from his struggling days, watching his speech on TV.
Coming back from the award, he wishes to have a drink. His manager reminds him that it is Christmas Eve and one should be with family. Kang demands to go have a drink and go to a familiar bar. The manager sends the driver home to his family. Kang and his manager discuss their pasts, including how both Kang and the manager started their acting journeys together, giving a big audition doing theater, and while Kang cracked that audition and went on to become a movie star, he, on the other hand, quit acting altogether.
The manager gives Kang the news about Soo-Hyun, who has come back to Korea and runs an art gallery. Hearing this, Kang remembers his painful breakup with her.
The manager calls a taxi for Kang and wishes him goodbye. A tipsy Kang gets in the taxi, and a mysterious driver begins to converse with him. He asks Kang that if he got a chance to change his past, what he would do. Kang doesn’t pay much heed to this question, but the next morning everything changes for him.
Kang Gets Another Chance
The next morning, Kang wakes up to two kids: Ro-he and Ro-ha, and he sees Soo-Hyun in the house. Freaked out by this, he runs away to his luxury apartment, only to find someone else living there. He gets arrested for barging in. Unable to comprehend what happened, he visits his doctor, who recognizes him—not from his movies but from an obscure TV show. Soon, Kang realizes that he is in an alternate reality where he is married to Soo-Hyun, has two kids, and is a small-time actor.
Later in the evening, Soo-Hyun demands an explanation for his irrational behavior. Kang explains his predicament of belonging to another reality where he is a famous movie star. He remembers the conversation with the mysterious taxi driver, who said he would give Kang another chance, and fears that he is behind all the mess. Soo-Hyun believes none of it.
Seeing no way out of this reality, he begins living as a stay-at-home dad while Soo-Hyun goes to work. He later learns he has a life as a theater actor in this reality, where he acts in shows for very little money in front of a small audience. He meets Woo-hee, his junior from his theater days, and begins a new production. Kang tries contacting Jo Yoon, his manager from past reality and finds out that he has become a movie star.
Kang goes to meet Jo Yoon and realizes that Yoon’s career has been swapped with his own from the previous reality. In the current reality, Jo Yoon is a megastar with no wife and kids, exactly as Kang was. Jo Yoon fondly remembers the audition they both gave and how Kang left midway to stop Soo-Hyun from going to study abroad, which actually helped Jo Yoon give a great audition.
Kang goes to visit Soo-Hyun and asks if she regrets not going abroad to study painting. She answers that she loves her life. Kang begins to have little fun in this new reality until his mother shows up. She is disappointed with him in this reality and wishes he had made something of himself. She asks Kang to visit his father someday because it’s been 20 years since he last met him.
Meanwhile, Jo Yoon asks Kang to be his agent at his new agency. Kang goes to discuss this with Soo-Hyun but doesn’t find her at her art class. He takes the kids to the playground, where Ro-ha falls down and hurts himself. Kang confronts Soo-Hyun for working at a store because it makes him feel like a loser who can’t provide for his family. With no money in savings, he decides to become Jo Yoon’s manager. Kang’s financial situation improves dramatically, and he starts to enjoy time with his family. He gained some popularity as well, playing sidekicks in Jo Yoon’s movies.
With some money in the bank, he asks Soo-Hyun to move to a bigger apartment in the city. She sees the same restless ambition in him again and asks him to sort himself out. Kang reflects on his life and begins to resolve his anxieties. He starts working more sincerely and has an article printed in a newspaper about his journey. He resolves to keep working in the theater while doing his duties as Jo Yoon’s manager. On Christmas Eve, Jo Yoon and Kang have drinks together, and Jo Yoon confides in Kang about the loneliness he feels.
Kang gets in a taxi and receives a video call from his family, telling him to come home soon to celebrate. He cuts the call and hears a familiar voice. It’s the same mysterious driver from the previous reality. He wakes up the following morning in the original reality, where he is a movie star who is spending Christmas alone. He rushes to meet Soo-Hyun at her art exhibition and proposes to her. She says yes, and they start a new life together. They have twins two years later: Ro-he and Ro-ha.
‘Switch’ Ending Explained: Who Was The Mystery Driver?
The mystery man driving a taxi on Christmas Eve was none other than Kang’s father, whom he had not seen in over 20 years. He comes to teach his son not to make the same mistakes he made and to begin living a fulfilling life. Many years ago, when Kang was a child, his father did not make time for him and kept hustling, not realizing that the only thing that would truly fulfill him was watching his kid grow. So he gives his son Kang, who is busy living a meaningless life, one year in an alternate reality where he learns the value of being a sincere and hard worker but also a good family man. He snatches it away to jolt Kang into taking action and starting a new life with Soo-Hyun, but this time with gratitude and a renewed sense of meaning.
“Switch” is a heartwarming tale about the balance between gratitude and regret and how wisdom comes into a man’s life. It is playing in select theatres.