‘Dream’ (2023) Ending, Explained: Does The Korean Team Win The Games?


We have absolutely never understood the appeal of sports movies or even sports in general. Other than the benefits of health, why on earth does it spark such competitiveness that the reputations of entire nations are put at stake? After all, it is just about running after a ball or hitting it with a stick. We are not looking for answers here, even though we are sure that sports aficionados will be very eloquent with them. Our point is that we did not expect sports to be such a huge part of Dream, and when it turned out to be the case, we expected to be bored. However, that did not happen. We still don’t love sports, but this movie was a beautiful representation of what giving your best for a game means to the players. 

The movie is titled Dream for a reason, and this game was a way for the players to prove their worth and send their message, which was their aspiration, to begin with. We are not asking why the money spent organizing the games for the homeless was simply not used to provide them with housing without going through the hassle. Dream is not about our inability to find the joy or meaning behind a couple of men running after balls; it is about those men finding a way to prove that they matter, and here is a recap of the film.

Spoilers Alert

Why Does Yoon Hong Dae Coach The Football Team?

It had to be Kang Ha Neul, who was roped in for a cameo as Park Sung Chan. We loved their pairing in “Midnight Runners,” and seeing him and Park Seo Joon together once again was awesome, even though it lasted only a few short minutes.

When Dream begins, Yoon Hong Dae is the hardest-working player on the team but is disgruntled at always coming in second. On top of dealing with the disappointment of Park Sung Chan’s success, Yoon Hong Dae is also persistently being asked questions about his absconding mother by an annoying reporter. Basically, Hong Dae’s mother used his money to set up a business, and when that did not work out, she scammed her customers and is now on the run. Hong Dae is broke, and he is planning on retiring from the game, unable to bear not being good enough. Maybe that is why he tried to match pace with Park Sung Chan on the field, as this was his last test to see if he could be good enough.

When that did not happen, and the annoying reporter returned, Hong Dae could not resist poking his eye, where he had recently gotten plastic surgery done less than a year ago by getting an employee discount from his sister. The reporter must not have been grievously injured since there was no talk of compensation. But Hong Dae has gone viral over the internet for his stunt, and he now wants to clean up his image so that he can transition to show business or at least have a short stint in it to earn some money. That is when Lee Soo Min stepped in to make the documentary about Yoon Hong Dae coaching the homeless to play football with other homeless people from different countries. This is in a bid to raise awareness of the plight of the homeless. Not to criticize, but we believe that if given the choice, the homeless would prefer a home over awareness. Moving on, as much as Hong Dae doesn’t want to do this, he has no choice because he has no money.

Right away, Hong Dae is uncomfortable with everything. He has no particular ambitions for the team, which is why he doesn’t object much when Lee Soo Min insists on choosing members for the team based on their sad backstories rather than their abilities on the field. Hong Dae still has to put in the work to bring in two more members. One is Seon Beom Su and the other is Kim In Su. The secret ingredient that brings them to the team is the love of a woman.

While Kim In Su sees his participation and the subsequent access to a global stage as a way to find his missing (possibly deceased) girlfriend, Beom Su is on the team because the woman he loves likes good-looking soccer players, and it is one of the few things she talks about. Everybody is on the team for different reasons, with Hwan Dong wanting to help his daughter and Hyo Bong wanting to show his child that he is someone she can count on. But when the funds for their team are pulled back by the sponsors, Hong Dae loses his motivation first.

Fate is really on the team’s side because when a video goes viral of Hong Dae rescuing Beom Su’s girlfriend from a couple of bullies, he is instantly popular again, bringing enough donations to the team to finance themselves. However, Hong Dae has a new problem now. His agency wants to use his popularity to send him on a reality show, which would mean that he can’t accompany the team to their match. It is good money, and this is what he had been struggling with for so long. In fact, it also helped him bail his mother out of jail and give their relationship another opportunity. In every way, it makes more sense to go on the reality show because it is not as if his football team stood a winning chance in the games anyway. It couldn’t even be said that he abandoned them because they would still get to go abroad and raise awareness for their situation while Lee Soo Min got her documentary. There is nothing binding him to them. But at the very last minute, Yoon Hong Dae shows up at the airport to accompany them to their game. It is not a question of profit or loss but a matter of team spirit and finishing what you started.

‘Dream’ Ending Explained: How Does The Korean Team Win The Games?

We were told that Yoon Hong Dae was an extremely hardworking player, but we doubt his abilities as a coach if he did not check the competition beforehand. As expected, the Korean team lost the first game. But they could not accept the defeat lying down because, be it for the documentary or the fact that they came so far after all those struggles, they needed to have at least one win to show for it. They find a shortcut for their next game when they swap out two of their members for Brazilian players, but though it technically wins them the match, nobody is happy since the entire credit goes to the Brazilian players.

Before the next match with Germany, the teammates have to decide how they want to move forward. Just like before, they know that they won’t be able to win, but this is the first time that they question the purpose of their visit. Everyone has something they want to achieve, either for themselves or for their loved ones. Winning by using the crutches of others will not get them that as much as losing after giving it their all will. Therefore, they decided not to use the Brazilian players in their game and go ahead with the match by themselves.

When they all get back on the field, the audience knows without a doubt that they are different from what they were before. The team plays as if their lives are at stake, and nobody cares that they are getting injured or if they are in pain. For once, the game matters more than themselves, and it is simply a matter of spirit and respect for the efforts everyone has put in. The Korean team is spectacular until the end. They lose, 6-1, but the way they played till the marks them as the heroes of the game. Throughout the tournament, they lost ten games, and their only win was the one they had with the Brazilians. Yet, this is the most popular team of all. Lee Soo Min has a hit documentary, and the team has enough sponsors to last them for a few years. In Dream’s ending, we see that Yoon Hong Dae has once again joined his former team as a player. He has learned his lesson that he does not always need to be the first or the best to love the game for what it is, and that is why we consider Dream to be one of the better sports movies of recent times.

Final Thoughts

This movie is a fictionalized account of the first time Korea participated in the Homeless Football World Cup, and it is true that they won the Best Newcomer Award simply for the spirit and manner in which they played. Remember how we said at the beginning that we were not fond of sports? But we are certainly fond of sportsmanship, and Dream is a beautiful depiction of that, which, in our opinion, is what makes it a good sports movie. Though it lacked the amount of comedy we were promised in the trailer, the movie gives us so much more, and despite a slightly slow first half, we would recommend watching this.

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Divya Malladi
Divya Malladi
Divya spends way more time on Netflix and regrets most of what she watches. Hence she has too many opinions that she tries to put to productive spin through her writings. Her New Year resolution is to know that her opinions are validated.

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