SASSY GIRL (2001-KOREA)
review by Seraph
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just love it!
For the longest time, I have put off writing a review for My Sassy Girl. This isn't because I don't like it. It's because I love it. This film is one of the greatest Romance/Comedy movies ever made, and as such, I feel I will have a hard time doing it justice. The story was first seen online as an internet diary written by Korean student Ho Sik Kim. And is claimed to be based on a relationship with a girl he actually met. Yeah, that's right. It's a (mostly) true story! Then the story was bought by Korean film production company, Shin Cine. Finally, Korean director, Kwak Jae Yong, 'Sketch of a rainy day' was brought on board to direct. The rest, as they say. is history.
The entire movie revolves around two main characters, 'Kyun Woo' (Cha Tae Hyun) and 'The Girl' (Yes, her name is never actually given) played by the wonderful Jeon Ji Hyun. The story begins when Kyun Woo meets the girl on a train platform late at night. See, she's drunk. Very drunk. After making a fool of herself on the train she passes out, but not before calling Kyun Woo "Honey". This leads the other passengers to believe that she is his girlfriend. In turn, our wimpy hero feels obliged to take care of her. So off he goes. Well, at least half way down the platform, before dropping her onto an empty bench. But do you think he has the heart to leave her there? Of course not. That's one of the things that makes this film special. Kyun Woo maybe a bit soft. He may be even just a tad pathetic, but his heart is in the right place. All he wants to do is help the girl. But... What does he get in return? Well, He gets a down right scary, weird, psychopath of girlfriend. Who takes every opportunity to either A: Hit him B: Humiliate him or C: Get him thrown into Jail. Yes, she's pretty mean. Or is she? Is there more to her than both Kyun Woo, and we the audience, can see? Maybe his wish to help her is not totally unjustified.
One of the greatest achievements of this movie is in it's two leads. Considering nearly the entire movie focuses on just two people. They did a very good job of not making the chemistry get boring. These are two wonderful actors who portray all the emotions needed, and at a very high level. Cha Tae Hyun, in his first role manages to keep Kyun Woo on just the right side of Bumbling, Shy and even Pathetic. At no point in the movie does he annoy, and that's a hard task indeed. He's always laughable. Granted, sometimes you laugh with him, mostly we laugh 'At him,' but that never stops you from thinking you'd like to have him as your friend. Jeon Ji Hyun however, is just incredible. She is the best actress of her generation. I don't just mean in Korea. I mean PERIOD. She fills the character of 'the girl' with depth, charm and overall a sense of reality, which in a film that occasionally becomes far fetched, is an excellent achievement indeed. She is incredibly expressive. Most of the time she doesn't even need to say anything. Her face says all we need to know. Some of her expressions are just priceless, and I can honestly say I have never, ever seen them captured on film before. If she doesn't become a major, international star in the next few years, I'll eat my own socks. (And trust me, my socks can be pretty nasty.)
The film features a wide range of genre's. Although It is primarily a Romance/Comedy film, it also has a dash of action courtesy of the girl's 'Scriptwriting' hobby. This leads to all manor of imagined scenarios staring Jeon Ji Hyun. Be it parodies of 'The Matrix' in her 'Demolition Terminator' story, to an 'Ashes Of Time' style period/swordplay movie later on in the film. These scenes, while not exactly furthering the plot are really well done, and a nice little break from the main story.
My favourite aspect of the film is how the director gives little hints and tips as to what is happening in the story without actually telling us. Each and every small detail (Which at first may seem trivial or pointless) will come back to play a major part in the film later on. Apart from being a really neat little way to tell the story, it also makes the film nearly infinitely re-watchable. You can come back to it again and again and you'll always notice something new which enhances the plot.
By the time you get to the midpoint of this film you 'will' care for these characters. As it approaches a more touching, less comedic, romance angle you wont lose interest. It's clever, funny, touching and romantic.
My advice is: See this film for the two wonderful leads, the touching story and neat little storytelling talent of it's director. Everything is perfect. The Music, acting, direction, script and even the sets are all superb.
The only people who may not like this will be those allergic to romantic films. Even then, I feel you may just be surprised. I cannot recommend this film enough. If you don't watch it. You only have yourself to blame.
I rate it 9/10
Neo Comments: I just love it! That's all I will say basically. It was the 1st Korean I watched and what a start or introduction it was! While slow in pacing at times, it is what I call a romantic comedy that manage not to be formulaic like HK ones and refreshing to watch and the soundtrack is just utterly brilliance! What the hell are you waiting for? Watch it damn it!
on this movie on HK Neo Reviews Forum
Product Title : My Sassy Girl
Artist Name(s) : Cha Tae Hyun | Jeon Ji Hyun
Language : Japanese| Mandarin
Duration : 137 minutes
Reviewed by Seraph (Paul) - October 2004