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Im Soo-Jung and Kim Rae-Won in
Year: 2003  
Director: Lee Eon-Hee  
  Cast: Im Soo-Jung, Kim Rae-Won, Lee Mi-Sook, Kim Ji-Yeong, Lee Yoo-Jeong
  The Skinny: A shy teenage girl with a life-threatening condition embarks on a relationship with her downstairs neighbor in this humorous, charming, and ultimately heartfelt melodrama. Yes, we've seen this kind of movie before, but at least …ing is a good one.
Review by Calvin McMillin:      From first-time director Lee Eon-Hee comes …ing, an oddly titled, yet highly engaging romantic melodrama about living life one day at a time. Im Soo-Jung, star of A Tale of Two Sisters, plays Kang Min-Ah, a pretty teenager who has had the misfortune of spending most of her life in hospitals, especially during her formative years. Min-Ah has a deformed hand, and unbeknownst to her, a terminal illness to boot. However, Min-Ah's single mother Mi-Sook (Lee Mi-Sook) does know the truth and keeps it hidden from her daughter, instead trying to turn this negative fact into positive motivation. Although hurting on the inside, Mi-Sook puts on a brave face, encouraging her daughter to take life by the horns and live in the here and now. Min-Ah is skeptical, but soon finds the possibilities of life re-opening to her.
     Soon enough, a photographer named Young-Jae (Kim Rae-Won, from My Little Bride) enters both of their lives by moving into the downstairs apartment. Upon seeing her, Young-Jae immediately does his best to win Min-Ah's attention, engaging in a series of well-intentioned, but slightly juvenile acts that he hopes will make her change her mind about him. Although highly resistant at first, Min-Ah eventually caves in to Young-Jae's goofily charming persistence, and the two embark on a tentative friendship. Much to the delight of her mother, the friendship between Min-Ah and Young-Jae eventually turns to love (albeit chaste), and they soon plan a trip to Hawaii together. But with the bitter realities of Min-Ah's fatal illness looming low on the horizon, one begins to wonder if the budding couple will be able to make it to Hawaii before it's too late.
     With such a small cast, the burden of the film's success lies primarily on the film's three principals, and the actors acquit themselves quite well in their respective roles. As the focus of attention, Im Soo-Jung delivers a memorable performance as Min-Ah. And although they do have some highly charged emotional scenes, Lee Mi-Sook and Kim Rae-Won bring a welcome amount of comic relief to the proceedings, which in itself, is another positive of the film. Rather than bog down the narrative with the kinds of hefty emotional baggage generally associated with the genre, the filmmakers instead use humor as a more natural way to get the audience to identify and/or sympathize with their characters. In fact, part of what makes …ing a solid film experience is that if the terminal illness aspect were eliminated altogether, what remains - a story about a shy, reclusive girl falling in love with an outgoing young man - would sustain a film in and of itself. And considering the plethora of "terminal illness tearjerkers" plaguing the market these days, part of me wishes that element actually was excised from the film. But still, as far as these things go, this is a topnotch melodrama.
     One of the more innovative aspects of the film is that the plot doesn't rely solely on the romance element, but instead gives equal, if not more time, to the unconventional mother-daughter relationship. Because Min-Ah was deprived of friends her own age due to her constant trips to the hospital, her mother asks to be called by her first name, becoming, in effect, Min-Ah's "best friend" from an early age. But even so, the way in which the two characters interact as mother and daughter comes across rather realistically, and Mi Sook's occasional deadpan "revelations" to her daughter always make for entertaining comic digressions.
     Although the specter of Min-Ah's possible death is ever-present in the narrative, …ing feels less heavy-handed and contrived than most melodramas. Even while working within the narrow parameters of the genre, the actors are able to convey a real sense of warmth, humor, and believability, thus making …ing a poignant, yet highly enjoyable cinematic experience. If you're a fan of this type of movie, then …ing won't disappoint. (Calvin McMillin, 2005)
Availability: DVD (Korea)
Region 3 NTSC
KD Media
16 x 9 Anamorphic Widescreen
Korean Language Track
Dolby Digital 5.1
Removable English and Korean Subtitles
Various Extras
   Copyright ©2002-2017 Ross Chen