know, I know...it's a five year-old movie but you have to admit that it still has the appeal it had five years ago. So let's talk about this movie that started all that 'Wanna die?' craze.
Adopted from the real-life experience of a guy narrated over the Internet, this movie is about his peculiar relationship with a pretty girl who lost her boyfriend and can't seem to move on. Gyun-woo senses the girl's sadness despite her attempt at sassiness, and being the nice guy that he is, he stays by the girl's side, doing whatever she fancies letting him do, making her happy and in effect, healing her sorrow. He knows it's a temporary thing, their relationship. But as time passes, the relationship gets deeper and it's becoming quite difficult for Gyun-woo to let go.
The girl is grateful for Gyun-woo's company. But she is likewise in an emotional quandary. She knows it's unfair to take advantage of Gyun-woo's good nature, but she needs him to heal. Just when she begins enjoying Gyun-woo's companionship and is slowly letting go of her dead boyfriend's memory, she feels guilt towards Gyun-woo and her dead boyfriend. What's her solution? She asks Gyun-woo to write her a letter, expressing what he really feels for her. This letter, together with her own for Gyun-woo, are placed in a container she calls a time capsule, which both will open two years later. This girl has a fixation for time capsules. I guess when you're hurting from a broken heart, you have your own methods for coping - others go on a shopping or eating binge; she, on time capsules.
Anyway, two years later. Gyun-woo shows up at their rendezvous point, she doesn't. Does this mean she's hurting still? Or worse, has she completely moved on and in the process has forgotten Gyun-woo too?
Everything about this movie is insanely wonderful that it remains on top of my all-time favorite Korean movies since I watched it five years ago. It has a topnotch story making it difficult to believe that it's an Internet adaptation. It works either way: a light drama with a touch of comedy, or a light comedy with a touch of drama. What really fascinates me is the peculiar relationship between Gyun-woo and the girl (the movie never mentioned her name) and the manner it was presented resulting in the romance aspect of the movie being subtle. Very nicely done. The narration is witty, funny and downright entertaining that nowhere in the duration of the movie would you feel bored.
Two thumbs up to the lead actors; if I had more thumbs, I would have gone right ahead and raised them all as well. Special mention to Cha Tae-hyeon. Although not your typical handsome guy, he was so lovable in this movie, naturally funny and quite amusing. No other actor would have been capable of playing Gyun-woo the way he did. It felt like the role was tailor-made for him.
From the Internet to the big screen, this movie went on to become a Korean phenomenon, overshadowing movies of the same genre. It set the trend for Korean romcom drama, and while there may have been movies with similar themes which have done well artistically and commercially, this movie is in a class of its own.
10 kimchi dishes out of 10.
*also on www. yesasia.com