Sunday, August 02, 2009

[Korean Film Festival] My Wife Got Married (A-nae-ga Kyeol-hon-haet-da)


I'd like to warrant a guess that many in the fully packed hall tonight are fans of Korean actress Son Ye-jin. I suppose thanks to many a Korean drama serial, and her other movies like April Snow and The Art of Seduction probably earned her many fans in return, showcasing her range from the demure to the downright crazy in a comedic turn for the latter. Not to forget of course that she can be sensual and sultry femme fatale when the need arises, in her latest film Open City (Which didn't make it here unfortunately), and now My Wife Got Married, shown in the festival.

Directed by Jeon Yun-su who brought us Le Grand Chef, one of my favourite shows from last year, this film examines the complicated affairs of the heart when it boils down to polygamy, and what more, a polygamous female at that. I suppose for guys there's this level of possessiveness as displayed by Roh Deok-hoon (Kim Ju-hyuk) who had spent almost all his adult life pining for this one girl Joo In-ah (Son Ye-jin), having charmed his socks off. Despite her very point-blank revelation that she has the propensity to love more than one man, he relentlessly gets her to settle down with him, which she did, until well, the title says it all.

Running almost two hours long, it had enough bandwidth to raise some questions whether absence makes the heart grow fonder, or does it make the heart flutter to another, especially when someone else seemed to click better, and may become the best one who got away, unless you can help it. There's also the issue about trust, which puts to the test Deok-hoon's patience and tolerance with In-ah being prone to late night outings, drink, and what's essentially a what-goes-around-comes-around situation. That in fact whether one's lust would compel one to make irrational decisions, or wistful ones such as expecting a complete character and attitude change in another. And how about that probe into loving someone whom you just can't live without as well.

In-ah's character might be a little warped or unorthodox, but it does perhaps tickle our acceptance of double standards in the act where guys go around sowing the wild oats. Here, In-ah has this strange explanation why she did the things she did, in allowing herself to fall for another, just so that she can be on the receiving end of double the love showered upon her, since she has to split time between men, having to relocate to another city due to work commitments and developing feelings for another party.

Come to think of it, there's really a wedge between the lovers early on in the film, where you learn one supports Real Madrid, and the other Barcelona. This is akin to falling in love with the enemy, especially to football fanatics like themselves, which of course led to certain punchlines and comedy in between the sheets. The first half was typical of a straight romance of loving the lust of the office, and it all seemed to be coasting through a typical formula after a very early seduction scene.

However the film seemed to have worn itself out when it crossed the mid point where In-ah confesses to Deok-hoon about the other man in her life, and everything else collapses under the weight of Deok-hoon's biological obsession over In-ah's child. The strangeness of the relationship triangle multiplies toward the last act, where In-ah's just pretty nonchalant over the addition of the child, and it's a pity too that she disappears for a while as the focus shifted toward the two men missing the common love of their lives.

Son Ye-jin had won the Best Actress award in Korea's Blue Dragon Film Awards last year, and it looks like her charismatic star would continue to shine. This is one definitely for her fans, if they can get past the relatively unconventional character set to raise eyebrows and provide some quality post-viewing discussion.

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