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Bestseller (2010)
"Be-seu-teu-sel-leo" (original title)

6.4
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 539 users  
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"Best Seller" is a thriller centered around writer Hee-Soo (Eom Jeong-Hwa) who moves to a small house in a rural area after becoming involved in a plagiarism scandal. Hee-Soo then hears a ... See full summary »

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Title: Bestseller (2010)

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Cast

Credited cast:
...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Kang-hee Choi ...
Whisper
Hie-bong Jo ...
Middle-aged man 2
Jin-woong Jo ...
Chan-sik
Hwa-yeong Kim ...
Director Song
Do-gyung Lee ...
Chan-sik's father
Sung-min Lee ...
Editor
Yong-nyeo Lee ...
Talk show host
Sa-rang Park ...
Yeon-hee
...
Park Yeong-joon
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Storyline

"Best Seller" is a thriller centered around writer Hee-Soo (Eom Jeong-Hwa) who moves to a small house in a rural area after becoming involved in a plagiarism scandal. Hee-Soo then hears a mysterious figure tell horrifying stories and she writes a new novel based on those stories. Her novel becomes another best seller, but Hee-Soo's success is short lived. The stories in the novel are discovered to have been published 10 years ago. To prove her innocence, she goes back to the house to uncover the mystery that lies there. Written by luraz isketambola

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15 April 2010 (South Korea)  »

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Bestseller  »

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At about 14 minutes in, the camera operator can be seen in the reflection of the glass door wearing a horizontal striped shirt. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Crazy bestselling book writer struggles with plagiarism charges.
22 October 2013 | by (SoCal, USA) – See all my reviews

The writer Baek is doing well when she gets hit with charges of plagiarism in 2005, then with writer's block. (Or was it writer's block, plagiarism, then more writer's block?) She takes her daughter to a backwoods village, and stays at what used to be a wartime orphanage. The locals say it is haunted by a ghost. The daughter, Yeung-hee, claims to see a friend, but the mother does not see that friend.

There are several interludes that seem to be flashback, but are instead reverie, where the writer's concentration on imagination blocks out other events. I found these to be counter-productive; if she's writing in her head, why not do it at the typewriter or computer?

Baek has Yeung-hee pinkie-swear that she won't play with her invisible inaudible friend who lives upstairs. Is that going to work?

When she throws her laptop on the floor, then stomps on it until it is badly broken, I gave up on this film. Two minutes later, the stomping turns out to be another false scenario that the writer daydreams.

Her husband loses a piece of career advancement over her controversy, even though they have long separated. So her support from other people is weakened.

Her attempts to write do not go well. She starts pumping her young daughter for details about the stories that her invisible friend keeps repeating. The daughter says she will not, naturally enough. The friend is repetitive and boring as well.

The place they are staying at is also being upgraded for other tourists to use, so the locals on are scene. One of these is the son of the 'Sheriff' who more or less runs the town. The father is well-organized, and runs other people's lives. The son is slow (mentally and physically), fat, awkward, entitled, and has little sense of personal boundaries. He's a loose cannon that just about everybody despises.

During the period of the refurbishment, we first see that the daughter is imaginary. The writer has long heated discussions with her, but the workers just see a woman getting wild and animated while she's talking to herself. They figure artists just are not like regular folks.

So, the writer is delusional, and the real or imagined loss of the daughter has cost her a lot. Why is she left alone? She clearly needs at least nearby professional assistance since she does not seem to be able to prosecute her own life.

Watching the nonsense with locked doors and the daughter going missing, then showing up again gets very tedious. The daughter is the muse, I guess, and she tells Baek the story her friend told her. Baek goes on a binge of writing. She takes the end result to her editor who just loves it. The picture should be over. Now and forever. But it goes on.

Baek's new book is published and she is quite successful again. Let the horror end. Her book races to the top of the charts and stays there for a while. She's having a relaxing bath with her daughter (hm, still crazy) when the problems hit. Apparently her 2007 book bears a strong resemblance to a book written by someone else in 1992. Great, double plagiarism.

She goes home and looks for her daughter in vain. She goes to her ex husband, who of course does not have the dead daughter. A shrink confronts her with the daughter's accidental death. She has difficulty embracing it. Yeung-hee died because she dropped a running hair drier into her bath water while Baek was arguing with someone on the telephone. Guilt, squared and cubed.

What to do next? The story of the dead daughter telling her the narrative of the book does not gain much acceptance. Her ex asks her the birthday, the favourite colour, the favourite food of Yeung-hee. Baek does not know. Guilt again. Her publishing house is up for sale because of the scandal.

Baek does some digging to find that the person who wrote the 1992 book got the story from his dead wife. Baek decides to solve the riddle involved in that case, which should restore faith and trust in her, and remove the plagiarism scandal. (Really? You've got to be kidding.)

Does the second half work, where everything is gone over a second time?

Baek definitely stirs things up in the village where the orphanage resides, and real miscreants are not happy with her.

Does she prevail against such long odds? She has precious little support, and the only ones with the full truths are the guilty.

------Scores-------

Cinematography: 8/10 Exteriors: excellent. Interiors, no so much.

Sound: 10/10 Fine.

Acting: 1/10 The lead actress is over the top most of the time and convincing very little of the time. The actor who plays the sheriff's son is either a fine actor (like Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man, 1988) or just the opposite, a non-actor with the character's traits. I think it's the second. The other actors are forgettable, except the fellow who played the husband.

Screenplay: 4/10 Solving an old murder cleanses away the new plagiarism charges? No. Her 2007 book came directly from the 1992 book, so the central point of the movie fails. Also, the lead character is certifiably insane and should not have been conducting anything on her own, much less a murder investigation. The horrible consequences of her actions are plenty of proof.


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