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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Marriage Contract" Episode 5

2016/03/19 | Permalink

The thaw between Ji-hoon and Eun-seong continues. Whether Ji-hoon is actually a good person at heart remains a metter of debate, but in short order Hye-soo lays out several compelling arguments for why the guy at least deserves a chance. However incidental his motivation may have been, Ji-hoon did a huge favor for Hye-soo and her daughter. What's more, he clearly appreciates the sacrifice Hye-soo is willing to make for the sake of Mi-ran. So, too, does Mi-ran appreciate the degree to which Ji-hoon and Hye-soo want the older woman to remain alive.

Seong-gook, too, shows a fair amount of interest in what exactly is happening with Mi-ran. This I find interesting because it demonstrates that Ji-hoon and his father might not be so different after all. Seong-gook will show interest in doing the right thing eventually, provided that obstacles are thrown up to prevent him from doing so. It's sweet watching Seong-gook show concern when this, of all times, is when Ji-hoon wants his father to not pay attention.

What's sad about Ji-hoon's family is that they're very avoidant of conflict, and know full well that this their other questionable attitudes have made Ji-hoon averse to commitment. Yet even knowing this, they still have trouble coming up with a legitimate excuse to confront him. Never mind the wacky marriage contract. Jeong-hoon (played by Kim Young-pil) can't even bring himself to ask why his brother and fiancé obviously seem to know each other.

Na-yoon, for her part, has been going through an awful lot of effort to torpedo any kind of audience sympathy. It's doubtful that Ji-hoon would be receptive to her overtures in even the best of circumstances. But Ji-hoon is especially unlikely to betray his brother for her sake, particularly when Na-yoon's attitude alternates between thinly veiled hostility and weird nostalgia. Although overall, Ji-hoon won't betray his brother more out of obligation than loyalty, which is oddly stiff.

So as usual most of the dynamic character-driven material goes on with Ji-hoon and his family, while Hye-soo is left with the more standard melodrama. That much can be easily justified by Ji-hoon having a family while Hye-soo does not, although there is irony in that. Hye-soo is a somewhat indulgent mother who still maintains a close relationship with her daughter. Ji-hoon and his family are all somewhat indulgent, yet they fail to approach anything that can really be called genuine affection.

Review by William Schwartz

"Marriage Contract" is directed by Kim Jin-min-I, written by Jeong Yoo-kyeong and features Lee Seo-jin, UEE, Kim Yong-gun, Park Jung-soo, Lee Hwi-hyang and Kim Young-pil.

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