A GREEN jacket, a pair of white headphones, and an indoor plant — these items are identified with the three main characters as they tell stories of those who have died in Netflix’s 11th South Korean original series, Move to Heaven.
Move to Heaven is based on an essay entitled Things Left Behind by Kim Sae-byul, who owns a cleaning service called Bio Hazzard which is a “trauma cleaner.” Trauma cleaners are often contacted for cleaning services in private homes after murders, suicides, or crimes, and also those who pass on from natural causes. The services are also availed of by hoarders with the inability to clean out accumulated items themselves.
Written by Yoon Ji-ryun and directed Kim Sung-ho, the series unfolds in 16 episodes.
Move to Heaven tells stories of those who have passed away from the perspective of Geu-ru who has Asperger’s syndrome. When ex-convict Sang-gu suddenly becomes his nephew Geu-ru’s guardian, the two go to work as trauma cleaners, and in the process uncover stories through the possessions that are left behind by those who died. Geu-ru and Sang-gu help the final move of those who have passed away and deliver their messages to loved ones.
The show stars Lee Je-hoon (Signal), Tang Jun-sang (Crash Landing on You), and Hong Seung-hee (Kiss Scene in Yeonnamdong). Ji Jin-hee and Lee Jae-wook make special appearances.
During the online launch with Asian press on May 12, Tang Jun-sang, who plays Geu-ru, described the job of trauma cleaners in the story. “There are objects that are left behind when someone dies, and trauma cleaners will visit their left spaces and clean everything up and deliver those to the bereaved families. So, trauma cleaners not only tidy up and make everything right in the actual physical space, but also try to bring closure to their untold stories,” Mr. Tang said in Korean which was translated into English. “Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all of us are going through such difficult times. So many of us are in pain. But if we tried to look around, you know to be better members of society and community. I think there’s so much we can do for one another,” director Kim Sung-ho said in Korean, of the series’ message. “I know that a lot of watching content these days has to do with escapism. But I think that it would be, it could be a better experience for us if we actually use it as an opportunity to look around our reality rather than to escape it,” Mr. Kim added. Move to Heaven will premiere on Netflix on May 14. — Michelle Anne P. Soliman