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[HanCinema's Film Review] "Love Forecast"

2015/01/24 | Permalink

A common tagline for bad romantic comedies reads, can a man and a woman just be friends? Relievingly, "Love Forecast" never gets that obnoxious. Joon-soo (played by Lee Seung-gi) and Hyeon-woo (played by Moon Chae-won) are without a doubt friends. They're the ones who have to help each other out emotionally when their actual romantic relationships implode. The main irony "Love Forecast" goes over is the question of why they're only just friends, when they clearly have better long-term toleration for each other than their actual so-called serious partners.

Joon-soo has realized, to his chagrin, that all of his relationships have a relatively short shelf life for reasons that never have anything to do with him. When Joon-soo reacts with disgust toward Hyeon-woo's insistence on the importance of throbbing heartbeats for the sake of love, it's not necessarily because of his romantic interest in Hyeon-woo. It's because time and again he's seen this reasoning used for petty, blatantly selfish and short-sighted ends.

It makes Hyeon-woo an interesting double, because she is very much the kind of woman naturally attractive enough that she gravitates toward relationships that require relatively little effort to maintain. Unsurprisingly, this too has led to a mostly unsatisfying romantic lifestyle. It's fortunate that Hyeon-woo loves her job so much, or else she might take time to reflect on a deeper level what actually matters to her.

Lee Seung-gi and Moon Chae-won exhibit great chemistry here, mostly because what their roles call for is something very precise- not romance, exactly, but more effective toleration. The best scenes by far are the ones where they're just generally crabbing at each other about how dating really isn't much fun at all. It's easy to empathize with both of them without even necessarily thinking there's an actual bad guy. Outside of modern dating culture itself, obviously.

Where "Love Forecast" gets weaker is when it inevitably moves to the more serious resolution stages of the main couple's relationship. It's not bad, necessarily, just standard stuff for the genre. And also pretty heavily telegraphed. The weather reports forecast plot movements, so you'll know exactly when the storm is coming. It's a nice enough metaphor.

The trouble is it's not exactly an amazing one. The set-up is interesting mainly on an intellectual level. I like, for example, how Joon-soo doesn't really pine for Hyeon-woo. He has to be provoked on multiple levels into actually making a pass at her, and even after that the man has some doubts. This is all quite relatable- to the point it's almost dull. If the romantic comedy genre wasn't so prone to obnoxious characters going into histrionics there'd be nothing remarkable about "Love Forecast"".

Really, though, that's practically nitpicking. At the very minimum "Love Forecast" is a fun date movie. There's relatable characters, fun performances, and plenty of jokes. Many misunderstandings are had- nothing too serious, just enough to get a decent laugh as we inevitably coast toward a cheerful happy ending. There's a comfortable warmth in that that's often underestimated. After all, why bother going to the movies at all if we can't take a moment to relax too?

Review by William Schwartz

"Love Forecast" is directed by Park Jin-pyo and features Lee Seung-gi, Moon Chae-won and Lee Seo-jin.

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