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Holly Karrol Clark
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Love Phobia is standard formula stuff: it's cute and funny for an hour and then makes you cry for another hour without dashing your hopes for a happy ending. It's executed extremely well with quirky bits throughout. If you like this kind of movie this is a grand slam home run. It's an interesting allegory as well but I don't want to give away too much.
Love Phobia is about a girl, Ari, who claims she has a curse and that bad things will happen to anyone who touches her. She also claims to be an alien. The film starts off with her as an elementary school kid who befriends a young boy, Jo-Kang. After he touches her one day he comes down with the measles. Ari mysteriously disappears the next day. Ten years later she reappears just as mysteriously in Jo-Kang's life, and then disappears again. Ten years later, or so, she returns to Jo-Kang again and her true story unfolds.
Hye-jeong Kang plays Ari as a teenager and as a young woman. She is not only cute beyond words, she's one of Korea's best young actresses. This is something that sets Korean melodramas apart, they use real actors and actresses instead of flavor of the month idols. From "The Butterfly" and "Oldboy" to this, with a half dozen well-received films in between, including the controversial and complicated "Rules of Dating" ... Hye-jeong Kang, at just twenty-six, is on a roll. Seung-woo Cho is also very good as Jo-Kang. Both are convincing as teenagers and as young adults, a testament to the Korean epidermis, perhaps, as much as thespian prowess.
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