A piano president in a ridiculous candy floss fantasy
You know those moments in American movies about fictional presidents where the heroine (it's almost always a heroine) realizes just what a normal, decent, lovelorn man-of-the-people the president really is, a moment that usually solidifies her love for him? Well, leave it to the Koreans to construct a movie almost entirely out of scenes like those. In fact, this film's President Han (Ahn Sung-ki) is such a man of the people, he hangs out in subways with bums and drives the occasional cab to find out what his citizens really think! His approach to policy amounts to centrist vagaries like "Our policy shouldn't be superficial or formal, but full of hope for the future is most important." Yes, Ahn Sung-ki makes a very cuddly president, which is probably why a no-nonsense high school teacher named Choi Eun-soo (Cha Ji-woo), who takes no crap from his bratty daughter, eventually falls for him after a series of romantic moments (on a city bus, at a jazz festival, in a tavern closet, on a rainy Seoul sidewalk and via a piano serenade of "Love Is A Many Splendored Thing" - that in any other cinema besides Korea's would be loosely termed as stalking. If one had to pick a Korean actor to play the Korean president, it would be Ahn Sung-ki, and I'm absolutely certain the dignified, popular actor would top many filmmakers' lists as well. Now if only one of them had thought of the idea before writer/director Jeon, who wallows in candy floss sentimentality that doesn't require much conflict and has little payoff, Ahn could have had the role of a lifetime. Of interest in this film is the fact that the characters discuss (and constantly hear the theme song from) the Hollywood soaper LOVE IS A MANY SPLENDORED THING, which featured Korean-American actor Phillip Ahn in a sizable role. 3.
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