Lover's Concerto (2002) Poster

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8/10
watch it and weep
jenlim23 June 2004
get your Kleenex. you'll need it.

if you haven't seen this movie, let this be the last review you read before you watch it. don't watch the trailers too; this movie is best seen when you have no idea what it's about. i must have gone "what???" at least four times in this movie. that's a good thing, since most movies nowadays don't have many surprises. one twist? two? try four, or five, depending on how well you can predict what'll happen.

the acting was pretty okay, and the art direction is pleasant. you will have no trouble at all keeping your eyes glued to the screen, except for the necessary dabs here and there. even with the cheesy factor, my sister and i still cried a lot while watching this movie. my brother cried a little, and my cousin who's hell bent on not crying didn't cry but with a lot of effort.

it's funny because i don't think anyone can truly relate to the characters in this movie, because the situation in lover's concerto is pretty unique. but the emotions are familiar and you'll have no trouble at all (crying along with the cast).
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Capitalising on the success of the Korean Romance drama, Lover's Concerto is good but not among the best
harry_tk_yung11 May 2003
Warning: Spoilers
BIG SPOILERS from paragraph 4 onwards

While the Romance has been around for decades in Hollywood, evolving in its top-of-Empire-State-Building style from Kerr/Grant (An Affair to Remember, 1957) to Ryan/Hanks (Sleepless in Seattle, 1993), the Korean Romance has over the last few years attracted some global attention as a new genre.

The recent onslaught of Korean movies came in genre as varied as you can imagine: spy thriller, historical adventure, analytical murder thriller, Matrix-like wire-fu fantasy, serious and sexually explicit controversial drama, hilarious comedy....you name it. These have met with various degree of success, but there is always a faint trace of Hollywood in them. In is in the Romance that Korean movies have achieved a unique identity. A rundown of a few could be: Contact (1997) (not to be confused with Carl Sagan's), Christmas in Autumn (1998), Art Museum by the Zoo (1998), Li Mare (2000), One Fine Spring Day (2001)and finally My Sassy Girl (2001), the most acclaimed and bought by Dreamworks for a Hollywood remake.

If I say watching a Korean Romance is like sipping a glass of mild flavoured honey sprinkled with lightly scented lemon peels, I have said absolutely nothing because that very drink itself may taste different to different people. Those who have experienced this genre will no doubt have their own definitions of what it is. What I would say is Lover's Concerto comes a little short when compared with these ones that came before. Still, it is an enjoyable experience, although not as deeply memorable as Christmas in Autumn or as delightfully refreshing as Il Mare.

The main plot of Lover's Concerto, which remains hidden until close to the end, is a very familiar one: love in the face of terminal illness. Depiction of the main characters' feelings and emotions in face of death does not have nearly the same depth, care and sensitivity as in Christman in Autumn or My Sassy Girl. Greater attention has been given, instead, to the treatment of the triangle relationship at the beginning and the twists at the end of the movie.

The romance element of the relationships is adolescent, which in itself is not a problem. The treatment of the relationships is somewhat shallow in comparison with Contact and Art Museum by the Zoo (which respectively take a tragedy and a comedy approach). The biggest flaw, however, is the feeble pivoting point in the development of the relationships, a letter Ji-hwan asks Kyeong-hie to deliver to Su-in. It's hard to believe that you would rely on someone to take a peek at your private letter to someone else as a mean of announcing your love to the deliverer. That Kyeong-hei would tear up the letter she has been asked to deliver is also most unconvincing. Built on this flawed pivoting point, the rest of the story falls flat.

Building a twist in a Romance seems to have become standard after the success of My Sassy Girl, which has done it so seamlessly, with a twist that is both relevant and convincing. The twists in Lover's Concerto however are uninspiring. The fact that both girls are terminally ill is not so much of a twist as a fundamental element of the entire plot. The identity switch, despite the careful build-up, is somewhat contrived, an attempt to introduce dramatic effect to salvage a somewhat weak ending.

Although suffering from comparison, Lover's Concerto is an enjoyable movie. The three lead roles are pleasant to watch. Particularly well handled is the friendship between the two girls which touches the audience more than the adolescent love triangle. There is also the usual attention to small details. A good example is the first photograph the audience sees received by Ji-hwan, with a caption by the sender about being kissed. This is a clear clue to the final twist as to which of the two girls has survived.
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7/10
The two girls are actually two girls (don't be confused by the flashback)
cambridgiano10 January 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Flashback: when the two girls were children, they decided to swap their names. The subtitles say "his" and not "her name" for one of them. That doesn't mean that one of the girls was actually a boy: in the simplicity of their childhood, one of them firstly thought that the other girl was a boy, by mistake. Just that! Or, at least, that's what i understood!

I enjoyed the film, it shows how the characters who look at the beginning so naive, actually are very deep and hide a difficult part of their life, the illness. Also it shows how it is difficult to communicate your own feelings. The photography is amazing. I think it was too sad in the end. Also the plot become quite complicated with all those flashbacks. Very emotional, however.
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10/10
Romantic Relationship Among Friends
Desertman8427 September 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Lovers Concerto is a film that tackles the intricacies that romance can bring among friends. It makes the viewers realize on how changes can occur when it enters the hearts among a group of friends and the effect it brings to their friendship.

Twenty-year-old student Ji-hwan treasures nothing more than his camera and taking pictures. One day Su-in and Kyung-hee appear in front of his camera lense. Even though their characters are totally different they understand how to compliment each other. Ji-hwan falls for Su-in at first sight, however meets her kind rejection. Yet, it doesn't affect their relationship at all because they are both still young. As the years go by, the threesome establish a close and sincere relationship, which is suddenly heading for a few minor changes

The movie presents it in a very realistic way and does not add cheesy elements to it. The acting was great. The stellar cast of Cha Tae-hyun, Son Ye-jin and the late Lee Eun-joo did extremely well on their roles. Another great ingredient added to the film is the rural setting for it allowed the characters involved to see to in a simplistic way and without the effects of modern life.

It deserves a 10 out of 10 rating!!! A must-see and highly recommended!!!!
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8/10
Thanks, Takashi Miike
Killer-408 November 2002
Because Japanese cult director Takashi Miike is just filming too much (five to six movies a year are no exception) and copying not only old Yakuza movies but also his own style, I left a screening of DEADLY OUTLAW: REKKA at this year's MIFED in anger and went to LOVERS' CONCERTO instead. Oh, how this Korean romanticism once again pleased me! If love could be like this... A young man between two women whose life is pressured by a serious illness that they manage to hide. When the man writes a love letter to one of them, their feelings for each other lead to unexpected turns. As a model to sublime the refusal by a friend this movie reveals not only the power of love letters but also the chance to really become one with a beloved person. It is director Lee Han's (born 1970) debut film and it had a budget of 2.5 m USD. Small means can lead to convincing results.
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10/10
Simply Beautiful - A Testament to the Importance of Love and Friendship
totalovrdose3 June 2015
From the visually colored wide shot outside of a young woman's window that opens the film, we are hypnotized by the extraordinarily visual and emotional beauty that is Lover's Concerto, a feature that should come with a warning label in regards to the reactions audiences are likely to experience when watching this poignant, melodramatic romance. There is not much that can be written without inadvertently giving away the plot, with the exception that this is one of those rare films that simply has to be viewed.

Ji-Hwan (Cha Tae-Hyun), works temporarily at a small restaurant, though his heart exists in photography, the film brilliantly incorporating this part of his life into the story, his appreciation for this art informing the enjoyment that other character's acquire from taking photos. When he meets the beautiful Soo-In (Son Ye-Jin) one day, who is accompanied by her best friend Gyung-Hee (Lee Eun-Ju), he cannot help but immediately fall in love with her. Despite his best efforts, that are as realistic as they are comedic, he is unable to convince Soo-In to begin a relationship with him, however, he does win the friendship of both women. Although the three friends play a terrifically important role in each others lives, Ji-Hwan finds difficulty in trying to discover who each of the women truly are, and in the end, a question to ask is, did he ever really know either of the women at all?

It should be noted, the feature progresses in a non-linear fashion, this directional decision providing the audience with a series of questions over the course of the plot that continuously leaves us attentive, and unlike other films, we are splendidly provided with answers that fit perfectly with the story. Five years after meeting the two women, Ji-Hwan is receiving letters from an unknown stranger, that appear to have a direct link to his past. In a time of e-mail, the choice to have the exchanging of letters in the film appears deeply melancholic, the story appreciating this old fashioned communicative method.

At the same time as Ji-Hwan tries to find answers, his sister, Ji-Yoon (Moon Geun-Young) experiences her first crush on a young bookshop attendant, Suk-Jin (Kim Nam-Jin), this particular sub-plot being one of several, that not only adds to the romantic atmosphere and the varying styles of relationships, but helps to construct an environment where everyone and anyone can experience and find love.

The mirroring of small events, from touching a character's face, to placing a hand outside of a window and feeling the breeze rushing across one's skin, reflect the beauty of reliving deeply impacting moments, the sheer beauty of the romantic climate being heightened by the melancholic piano track that powerfully sets the scene.

The acting throughout the feature is very believable, the conversations that transpire, and the character actions, being incredibly captivating, while at the same time, the film, both realistically and tragically, conveys themes including love, friendship, family, jealousy and loss, none of which ever feel forced or out of place.

The film's conclusion is very intelligently constructed, and contextualizes much of what the audience has previously viewed, and in so doing, becomes a terribly sad, yet brilliantly powerful finish to a dramatically heartfelt story that stays with you, long after the credits have ended.
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