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'Yeonriji' ("Now and Forever") Depends Heavily on 'Ji-woo Hime'

2006/04/13 | 1806 views |  | Permalink | Source

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By Kim Tae-jong
Staff Reporter

Choi Ji-woo is one of the most beloved actresses here and in other Asian countries _ especially in Japan where she is affectionately called "Ji-woo Hime", meaning Princess Ji-woo in Japanese.

But would you be willing to pay 7,000 won and sit in a theater for almost two hours watching a cliche love story just because she stars in it?

You may have to ask yourself this question if you want to check out her new movie "Yeonriji, Now and Forever".

Directed by Kim Seong-joong and starring Choi and Jo Han-seon, the movie is a melodrama revolving around a rich, charming man and beautiful woman with a fatal disease.

Min-su (played by Jo) is a playboy. With his attractive looks, money and position as a CEO of a game company, he can easily lure women he likes and simply enjoys casual relationships with them.

His life, however, reaches a turning point when Hye-won (Choi) enters the scene.

At first, she is nothing more than one of many women he has met, but as he gets to know her he realizes that he is in love, which he has never experienced before.

Although Hye-won has to spend most of her time at hospital due to a fatal disease, she is always cheerful and not discouraged with her misfortune and tries to enjoy life. (Mysteriously, Hye-won doesn't give any signs that she is dying until their relationship is in full bloom.)

As the story progresses, Min-su learns about the true meaning of love and Hye-won has the best time of her life, thanks to him.

But this seemingly sad story falls short of arousing audiences' sympathy. Their agony and sadness is not well portrayed, rather audiences are forced to sense it merely through their tears, which doesn't work well.

Their "romantic" dating is often cheesy and unrealistic given the seriousness of their situation.

The scenes of Min-su renting an entire car theater for Hye-won and confessions of their love for each other with video messages through cell phones would probably fit better in a teen movie.

The movie adds some comic elements by incorporating two other couples, which seems to aim to prevent the film from falling into a typical tearjerker, but it simply falls short as most of it has nothing to do with the main story.

As the movie uses formulas that we have seen hundreds of times in other melodramas and depends largely on star power, if you're not a huge fan of Choi you may find yourself giggling during serious scenes.

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