“Switch” aims to remind us to appreciate the things that life has gifted us with. It does not, however, tell us that we have to give up on our dreams. It just tells us that all our dreams may not come true, but being able to bask in the glory of life itself is a luxury not many can afford, no matter how wealthy they are. The film shows how a famous actor’s life is “switched” with that of his agent, and this lets him live what he later realizes to be the life he always wanted. But all this is due to a spell, and no spell lasts forever, right?
Plot Synopsis: What Happens In ‘Switch’?
Box-office star Park Kang is a pompous actor, to say the least. He doesn’t care about his scandals, forgets his line almost all the time, takes calls as if he is the head on set, and priotitixes money over anything else. But this wasn’t the case 10 years ago when he would just act in plays with not even ten people in the audience. While he does make a lot of it, he still finds himself depressed and unable to sleep. Then on Christmas Eve, after he bags an award for his latest performance, he goes to a bar with his agent/comedy buddy Jo Yoon, where we find out that Kang got his break because Yoon lost to him at the final auditions at a contest. This is when Yoon also mentions Kang’s former flame, Soo-Hyun. Kang broke up with her during his struggling days.
Yoon tells Kang that she has now become a famous artist and will be holding an exhibition the next day at a place nearby. After they are done drinking, Yoon puts a drunk Kang in a “goofy” cab with a Christmas tree light on top and sends him home. On the way home, the driver, who also used to act in plays, asks Kang what he would do if he got the chance to alter his past. Kang laughs it off. When he wakes up the next day, he finds himself in a different house. He has a wife, who is none other than Soo-Hyun, and two kids. He then finds out that he is a reenactment actor while his agent, Yoon, is a box office star. Is he dreaming? What kind of spell is it that seems to have switched the places of Kang and Yoon? Is this “switch” permanent?
When Park Kang’s life changes from being a box-office phenomenon to being a mediocre reenactment actor, he finds himself in utter disbelief. He has a wife [Soo-hyun] and two kids [Ro-hee and Ro-ha], and he has to take care of them all. But taking care of them is possible only after he accepts that he has to take care of them. He is yet to accept the way his life has changed, and his previous life now appears to be a dream. All that he has for reassurance is his wife, who turns out to be his former flame from his previous life, Soo-Hyun. This does have its perks, no matter how much Kang pretends to hate it. He never stopped loving her in his previous life. So in this new life of his, he finally gets to live with the woman he loves, as well as two gorgeous children. The more time he spends with them, the more he realizes how much happier he is than he ever was in his previous life. He also has his buddy Yoon, who, surprisingly enough, offers him the job of being his agent.
Kang agrees and only finds out how much better Yoon is as a person. He doesn’t get jealous of Kang’s late popularity as an actor who shares screen space with him. He also addresses Kang as an old friend who is responsible for his receiving the award. Kang learns a lot from these but does falter, just like he did in his previous life when he offers to take his wife and children to a different house and asks her to get a new car. Soo-Hyun tells him to his face that the money he has started to earn of late has gone to his head. This is exactly what had happened to him in his previous life, and perhaps this was also the reason he broke up with her. Maybe he didn’t intend on slowing down or settling with a woman, as they say, because he had a career to make and dreams to achieve.
Well, Kang now has to learn the hard way that choosing to live life with a woman has nothing to do with his career. Rather, she and the children serve as his support system. But he needed a reality check that comes in the form of Soo-Hyun’s words that address how a little taste of stardom has started to change him [into the person he was in his previous life]. Kang comes to terms with himself and realizes that Soo-hyun’s words are very true. The way his life has changed is surreal, but he wishes to never wake up from this spell that has brought family, love, and friendship into his life, as well as a prosperous career that, although it pays a lot less, enables him to learn more and work harder as an actor. A year passes by like this, and Christmas Eve returns.
‘Switch’ Ending Explained – Does Park Kang Return To His Previous Life?
On Christmas Eve, similar events to those before which Kang’s life switched with Jo Yoon occur. Kang and Yoon drink at the same bar, after which Kang puts Yoon in a cab and sends him home. But this time, Yoon hands him an envelope in which there is money with which to buy his kids toys for Christmas. This is another reminder for Kang about how much more Yoon deserves this life than Kang. After Yoon leaves, Kang calls a cab for himself, and a similar cab with a Christmas tree light on top, the journey that resulted in the switch, arrives and gets in. On his way home, the driver asks him if he has enjoyed this new life with a family.
Tears roll down Kang’s eyes as he realizes that it is the same driver from before. He is about to go back to his lonely previous life, leaving his wife and kids behind. It pains him to hear that there isn’t much time left, and he only has until the next morning. Not deciding to return is not up to him, says the driver. Kang tells him that he has no right to decide what life Kang will live. That’s when the driver tells him that he did his last play on Christmas Eve [after which he possibly passed away]. His son was present at the play. Now, he misses his son and regrets not making the most of his precious time with him. The driver hopes that Kang will cherish all the memories from this past year. Kang returns home and assures his kids that he will take them to the amusement park the next day.
Later that night, Soo-Hyun shows him a picture from his childhood in which he is holding his dad’s hand. His father is the same guy he saw in the cab. His father was the driver. He was talking to his son, Kang, and apologized to him for not spending enough time with him. Perhaps he wanted Kang to remember and realize how important having a family is and not make the same mistake he made. In bed, Soo-Hyun tells him that she wants “tomorrow” to be just like “today.” So does Kang, more than ever, but he doesn’t want to fall asleep because he knows he will wake up in a different world. And that’s exactly what happens.
Kang opens his eyes and finds himself in his posh house. It is his agent, Jo Yoon, who tells him that it was last night that they were at the bar. This means that what seemed to be a year in the other life was only a night in this one. Kang rushes to the exhibition that Soo-Hyun is having and meets her. She seems to have not stopped loving him either, and she agrees to give him an hour of her time. He brings her to the house where they lived as a family in his other life and tells her that the Christmas he spent with her “last night” and that one year was the most precious of his life. As the camera pulls back from the two people and the house, the whole shot turns into a painting, the very painting that Soo-Hyun had made [that was hanging in the gallery as well as at her workshop in Kang’s previous life].
2 years later, we see Kang wake up beside Soo-Hyun and their babies, Ro-hee and Ro-ha. It seems that Kang has realized what his father wanted for him. His father isn’t alive probably [you are most welcome to imagine him as a soul, some form of energy], and out of the magic that life is, he returned to his son to make him understand that he missed him and didn’t want him to undergo the same pain ever.
“Switch” stresses the importance of accepting the things we have in life and making the most of them. Soo-hyun’s painting is proof of how life becomes art and art becomes life, but this happens only after Kang realizes how important love and care are, and rightfully so. The beauty of life lies in the people we love and care for. If we do not have them, no amount of money can fill the void that forms inside us. And there’s no cab driver to remind us of what we missed either.