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20th Century Girl (2022) Ending Explained – What happens to Woon-ho and Bo-Ra?

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Newly released on Netflix, 20th Century Girl is a trope-filled Korean romance exploding with massive desktops, Casio-reminiscent watches, an incessant pager/payphone connection and piles of oversized clothes. It whisks us back to a time when Nostradamus’ predictions and a sense of uncertainty were buggin’ everyone out.

And though Y2K was the worry of businesses around the world, for some, it was secrets with your foreva home skillet and a hope for romance if they survived the New Year. For boy-crazy Yeon-du, all she can think about is her new love-at-first-sight, even as she’s jetted from Korea to the US for planned heart surgery rather than heading to high school with her friends.

Armed with only a name, friend-for-life Bo-ra, who doesn’t really get the whole crush thing, promises to track Hyun-jin, reporting every detail so Yeon-du can catch up by email from her recovery room. Bo-ra is committed to creating an experience as if Yeon-du hadn’t missed a thing.

What happens when Bo-ra tracks Hyun-jin?

When Bo-ra starts tracking Hyun-jin, everyone starts to believe she’s got a thing for him, especially Hyun-jin himself. She may be a bit surprised and flattered, but this is her best friend’s guy. She would never betray her like that.

So she does her mightiest to discourage him, explaining all of her bad habits. Meanwhile, having been using her broadcast club-mate and Hyun-jin’s best friend Woon-ho to gather data, they begin to quietly catch feelings for each other.

What happens when Yeon-du returns?

When Yeon-du returns post-surgery, the girls are happily reunited. But Bo-ra had hesitated to tell her about her feelings for Woon-ho. And lucky she didn’t, as it turns out that Yeon-du had the guys mixed up, and her crush is actually Woon-ho. Uh-oh.

Why does Woon-ho leave?

Before the girls are able to sort themselves out, Woon-ho tells Bo-ra he’s returning to New Zealand. He confesses but she holds back, denying her interest in him, in deference to her friendship.

In a letter, Woon-ho had promised to return for Bo-ra but he doesn’t give it to her, dropping it in the rainy streets instead.

What changes Bo-ra’s mind?

Eventually, Yeon-du figures out that Bo-ra does indeed have feelings for Woon-ho. And on the day he’s meant to leave, she plots with Hyun-jin to give the couple one last opportunity to talk things out, racing her to the train station.

What happens to Woon-ho?

After an emotional confession where Woon-ho promises to return, the couple keeps in touch over email. But he eventually stops responding to messages and their relationship evaporates.

After several years of pining, Bo-ra tells herself it’s time give up. But one day receives a package by post that includes Woon-ho’s movie and an invitation to an exhibit.

There, she meets Woon-ho’s baby brother, now a grown man. He tells her that Woon-ho had always kept her in his heart. And that Woon-ho tragically died all those years ago.

What happens to Bo-ra?

She moves on with her life but doesn’t have a significant other. So, she’s moved on but hasn’t really moved on, and from a romantic perspective is still stuck in the 20th Century. After hearing about Woon-ho’s tragedy she feels able to let go of her anger, and to celebrate the golden time they’d had.