‘Broker’ Ending, Explained: What Happens To The Road-trip Family? Who Does Woo-sung End Up With? 

Director Hirokazu Koreeda has returned with a Korean-language film, including an ensemble cast of incredible actors. A heartfelt drama wrapped around a found family of criminal well-wishers that keeps one’s mind occupied with an eerie ambiance throughout. Many may argue that in the hands of another, this could’ve been the plot of an actual thriller. “Broker” is not a light family watch; it’s a movie with very heavy subject matter conveyed simply through the road trip of a lifetime. Yes, Son Kang-ho is incredible, but we must admit the baby and Lee Ji-Eun (IU for us K-pop fans) stole the show in this one. It is definitely not every day that we find ourselves sympathizing with baby traffickers in the black adoption market, but here we are! Let’s break down “Broker.”

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Spoilers Ahead


‘Broker’ Plot Synopsis: What Happens In The Film?

So-young is a single mother who decides to leave her baby outside of the “baby box” at a church. A detective finds the baby in the cold and decides to put it inside the “baby box.” Sang-hyeon, a volunteer at the Church but also a baby trafficker, ends up finding So-young’s baby, and with the help of his partner and worker at the Church, Dong-soo, he erases the CCTV footage of the baby and kidnaps him. They find a note with the baby stating that his name is Woo-Sung and that his mother will come back to get him. There is no contact or name attached to the mother’s note, so the two men discard the message and take the baby. So-young does, in fact, return for Woo-Sung rather quickly, and when Dong-Soo finds out who she is, he takes her to see Sang-hyeon. Sang-hyeon disguises his business as a dry-cleaning service. They make her feel guilty for abandoning her child and tell her that by leaving a note behind, she would eradicate the chances of Woo-Sung being put up for adoption. After hearing about how much money they would get, So-young decides to join them to make sure Woo-Sung is sent to the perfect home. In the meantime, detectives Lee and Soo-jin are following them to catch the baby brokers and expose the black market for adoption. On the way, they stop at an orphanage where it turns out Dong-soo grew up. Everyone loves him there, and after some rest, they head back on the road, only to realize one of the young boys, Hae-jin, has joined them. What will be the fate of this unlikely quintet?

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‘Broker’ Ending Explained – What Does So-young Confess To? Do The Detectives Succeed?

After Woo-Sung gets a fever, it is clear that everyone involved, including the detectives, all care very deeply for this baby. Sang-hyeon takes him to a hospital, and So-young thanks him for taking care of her baby as if he were his own. Throughout the film, So-young seems to be distancing herself from her own baby. It turns out So-young murdered the baby’s father, and it is because there is also a murder case involved that the detectives must rush their investigation. The detectives meet So-young and tell her to wear a wire for them to catch the two brokers, stating they would help her with her investigation and give her an easy way out. So-young refuses their aid but chooses to help them anyway. So-young then confides in Sang-hyeon and Dong-soo about having murdered the baby’s father and tells them to leave her behind because the dead man’s wife wants Woo-sung for herself, conveying that she used to be a prostitute. Sang-hyeon, who is familiar with one of the wife’s thugs, ends up deceiving everybody to go give Woo-sung to them. Unfortunately for him, Dong-soo is in their van and has found the detectives’ tracker. Dong-soo, who is in love with So-young, asks not to leave her behind, and Sang-hyeon agrees. Sang-hyeon cares for Woo-sung much more than he anticipated and does not care about the big sum of money anymore. He realizes the wife will not care for Woo-sung and decides against giving her the baby. Dong-soo helps by making the thug unconscious, and they quickly head to Seoul to meet the next potential buyer.

The couple is charming and perfect, and it seems they will care for Woo-sung as though he were their own child. Everyone, including young Hae-jin, agrees that they could not find better parents for Woo-sung. The only problem is that the husband lets So-young know that he would not like their child to know that he is adopted and would not want him to meet his biological mother. So-young gets some time to think about it, and the five of them go to an amusement park as per Hae-jin’s request. On the Ferris wheel, Hae-jin and Sang-hyeon share a beautiful moment, and it is clear that Sang-hyeon could be a wonderful father to Hae-jin but cannot adopt him. Dong-soo tells So-young that he wants to raise Woo-sung as his own, and So-young teases him for making a “proposal.” Dong-soo understands that So-young decided to abandon Woo-sung because she didn’t want him to be a “murderer’s” child. Dong-soo finally understands that his mother too may have had a reason to abandon him and tells So-young that she is forgiven. Later that night, Sang-hyeon meets his daughter, who tells him that her mother does not want to see him ever again and that he can do whatever he likes with his newfound money. His wife has remarried and is expecting a baby. Sang-hyeon tells his daughter he always wants to be her father, and while she appreciates the thought, she leaves him immediately in a cryptic manner.

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In the hotel room, the boys claim that they have never seen So-young talk to her child and ask her to say a few words. They turn the lights off, and So-young thanks each of them by name for being born. Hae-jin returns the favor and offers her the same comfort, making everyone feel content for being in the position they are in. Detective Lee then offers So-young parole in exchange for confessing to the murder, suggesting that she would be able to live with Woo-sung in as little as 3 years from then. So-young doesn’t like the idea of Woo-sung having to live the way she did and prefers the couple from before to adopt him. Sang-hyeon has changed his mind and decided to sell Woo-sung to the thugs, maybe because he feels abandoned and believes that there is no meaning in love. Dong-soo catches him and tells Sang-hyeon that he will sell the baby to the couple from earlier in order to save So-young from a long sentence and so she can live with her baby after she’s out of prison. Sang-hyeon agrees and tries to convince the thugs that giving their boss the baby would be bad for the baby. Dong-soo goes to sell the baby to the nice couple, and the detectives appear. Dong-soo is arrested for being a human trafficker, and So-young has turned herself in too. Sang-hyeon was unable to convince the thug and ends up killing him to save everyone and runs away. In the concluding act of the film, we see that Woo-sung has been raised by detective Lee and her husband. Sometimes they even let him meet the nice couple who wanted to adopt him illegally. So-young is free from prison but doesn’t end up meeting her baby.

Although detective Lee has hopes that So-young will return for Woo-sung someday and raise him herself, and even writes to her to meet at a particular spot, saying that they will be waiting for her at a certain hour every few days. In the end, Hae-jin gets picked up in a car. So-young is seen running with an image of the five of them hanging from a car mirror, making us feel that Dong-soo’s wishes for them all to be a happy family may have come true. It is not entirely clear where So-young is running to but one can only presume it is an older Woo-sung. Sang-hyeon may have managed to set up something for all of them to have a good life and come back for them in the end because these were the only people who truly cared for him. 

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“Broker” is a 2022 Korean drama film directed by Hirokazu Koreeda.

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Ruchika Bhat
Ruchika Bhat
Ruchika, or "Ru," is a fashion designer and stylist by day and a serial binge-watcher by night. She dabbles in writing when she has the chance and loves to entertain herself with reading, K-pop dancing, and the occasional hangout with friends.

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