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A love story centered on ex-boxer Chul-min (So Ji-sub) and telemarketer Jung-hwa (Han Hyo-joo). He has closed his heart to the world and she remains spirited despite slowly losing her vision. Their fate intertwines when their past are revealed in their blooming relationship. Written by
A Film That Poignantly Expresses the Importance of Love, and the Sacrifices Made to Hold onto it
Always is a film that brilliantly captures the ironies and coincidences that life happens to offer, and because of this, could be accused of being structured in such a way as to deliberately push the plot in a particular direction. With this in mind, the feature never feels forced or out of place, and even though, by the conclusion, the film begins to pick up pace, as though hurriedly making its way towards the end, again, the climax and final segments are unhindered, and fit fantastically with the rest of the movie.
Occasionally, moreover, the conversations can be predictable, however this adds to the overall beauty of the production, the plot being as logical and understandable as it is fluent and engaging. So Ji-Sub is outstanding as Cheol-Min, a former boxer with a dark past, who is attempting to atone. His awkwardness in social situations is emphasized in his dialogue, sometimes conveying a hurtful comment to hide the honesty beneath. Han Hyo-Joo is equally superb as Jung-Hwa, a young office worker on the verge of completing losing her sight. Although the way she lost her vision is similar to Min Soo-Ah in Blind, I felt a greater degree of sympathy towards Soo-Ah, whereas Jung-Hwa seems to find solace in her condition, and though her life is immeasurably difficult, she appears to acclimatise more efficiently.
Despite Cheol-Min's attempts to rid his world of violence, it is this that eventually helps bring he and Jung-Hwa together, and at the same time, has the capacity to irreversibly tear them apart. Acquiring a job as a parking attendant, Cheol-Min replaces the worker that Jung-Hwa used to converse with. She appears one evening, to talk to her friend, and is surprised to meet a new individual, yet continues to stop by every evening to watch a soap opera.
Cheol-Min finds himself deliberately adjusting his appearance and life to accommodate Jung-Hwa, who he forms an attachment to, wanting to keep her safe from those who would use her condition to take advantage of her. Ironically, at the same time, he is unable to identify those who attempt to do the same to him.
The leads are incredibly likable over the course of the feature, their relationship being as passionate and sweet, as it is enjoyable to watch. At the same time, those who portray antagonistic individuals effectively create characters who are intensely loathsome from the moment they appear on screen, Min Tae-Sik (Yoon Jong-Hwa) being one such character who is as egotistical as he is villainous. Not long after severely beating Jung-Hwa's boss, Choi (Cho Seong-Ha), after he attempts to sexually assault her, Cheol-Min and Jung-Hwa move in together.
However, the expenses that are required to maintain their existence forces Cheol-Min to orbit back towards his former occupation, and though his love for Jung-Hwa is undeniable, represented by the sacrifices he is willing to make, the immoral, unsafe actions inevitably lead towards moments, as unavoidable as they are inescapable, which could ruin everything.
Though I will not deny the brilliance, not to mention the beauty, which encapsulates the characters and plot, as previously accentuated in a number of other reviews, I personally was disappointed that I didn't find the movie to be as terribly sad as I had initially imagined it to be. This aside, Always is a feature which delves into the reasons as to why we love, and why we are willing to go to such extraordinary lengths to maintain our romantic attachments. In this sense, the film is easy to relate towards, and even when shifting into intensely dramatic, and tragic instances, the feature never loses its capacity to keep the audience vested.
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