Based on a series of true stories posted by Ho-sik Kim on the Internet describing his relationship with his girlfriend. These were later transformed into a best-selling book and the movie ... See full summary »
Two friends are searching for their long lost companion. They revisit their college days and recall the memories of their friend who inspired them to think differently, even as the rest of the world called them "idiots".
When Lee Jin-woo rescued Su-eun from a fire they both defied the odds in surviving. He fell in love with her older sister, Soo-jeong Lim, who now desires the brave fireman to propose marriage thinking that this will make him less fearless in facing the flames and lessen her greatest fear. He wishes to do so, but his romantic streak causes him to seek the proper moment. Su-eun works as a "character" in an amusement park. Her face was scared in the fire, and in addition she is a deaf mute. Feeling free to be more forward when in costume behind a large "Raggedy-Ann" head, she approaches a handsome artist who frequents the park to paint. He starts to come infatuated with her, despite never having seen her face or heard her voice. She starts to fall in love with him. Choi Suk-hyun informs her boyfriend, Jung Ha-seok, that she wishes to break up for he is still unemployed after 3 years and she cannot face a future of poverty. He vows to get a job to reverse her feelings, and when a stranger... Written by
Nobody could ever accuse director Kwon Jong-Gwon of false advertising in the title of this film. But even with the advance warning, the viewer is scarcely prepared for the tragic emotional impact of the movie. After the initial credits rolled, I found myself mentally girding my emotions for what I anticipated to be two hours of barely held-back tears and defensively crossed arms. But after the first twenty minutes of the film, I began to question my expectations and even wonder whether the title was merely hyperbole.
The film is a medley of four stories, each independent and integral to setting the general mood of happiness and hopefulness that permeates that first three quarters of the movie. There is the brave firefighter, played by Jung Woo-Sung, who is in love with a sign language interpreter (Lim Su-jeung) who desperately wants him to find a less dangerous job. The sister of the interpreter (Shin Min-Ah) is a deaf mute who develops a crush on a handsome young painter (Lee Ki-Woo) in the park where she works as a costumed character. The last two stories follow a young son (Yeo Jin-Goo) whose mother (Yeom Jung-Ah) is dying of cancer and a near-do-well young man (Cha Tae-Hyun) who hatches a creative plan to earn money and win back his girlfriend.
All of the stories combine a good dose of humor with their romantic plots. The viewer is taken on a pleasant stroll through the lives of the central characters, developing sympathy and really relating to the romantic successes and mishaps of the rather motley cast. By midway through the film, the anticipation of any deep sorrow is completely gone, but at the same time the title still looms over the ending. I found myself actively hoping that each character would be able to resolve his problems but still knowing that something had to go wrong before long.
It is the intensity and utter devastation of the ultimate crises that pick the viewer up and fling him against the wall. There is an expectation that the film will be balanced; the "sadness" will be of an amount commensurate with a romantic comedy. It is in this aspect that Kwon Jong-Gwon brilliantly executes his bait and switch; without any warning other than the title itself and whatever "clues" the suspicious mind might have inferred based on the title, the film suddenly goes from sunny skies to hurricane intensity. Not one dream is left unshattered and not one character's expectations are fulfilled.
Having said all that, I really enjoyed this film. Jong-Gwon's artistic expertise is evident in the details of the movie; many of the shots are gorgeously composed, and the colors throughout are vibrant and stimulating. And I also view the movie as almost an "experiment in emotion"the stories are all simple and basic, but it shows that in the hands of a great director the audience can be brought into the story to such extent that the final betrayal feels almost personal. I feel that this is the mark of a "successful" film, because most viewers are so cynical and "worldly" when it comes to cinema that they often fail to suspend disbelief in emotional terms. This movie causes us to do so, and the result is that we are forced to question our own expectationsmust romantic comedies or any other genre follow the typically prescribed formula?
5 of 8 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?