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This Charming Girl
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Kim Ji-Soo is This Charming Girl
Year: 2004  
Director: Lee Yoon-Ki  
  Writer: Lee Yoon-Ki
  Cast: Kim Ji-Soo, Hwang Jung-Min
  The Skinny: A beautifully acted, sensitive character study that peers into the sad, lonely life of a wounded young woman. Actress Kim Ji-Soo is a revelation in her debut film role.
Review by Calvin McMillin:

     From writer/director Lee Yoon-Ki comes his feature length directorial debut, This Charming Girl, a multiple award-winning human drama about a seemingly ordinary young woman hiding a secret pain. In her first film role, Kim Ji-Soo portrays Jeong-Hye, a normal, if slightly eccentric, postal employee leading an interminably lonely existence. For reasons that are not immediately clear to the audience from the start, Jeong-Hye keeps to herself, looking to solve whatever problems she's suffering from on her own. As the film progresses, we are drawn into her inner world, simultaneously charmed by her personality, yet concerned for her general well-being. Her isolated situation begs the question, "What's eating at her?"
     Through the usage of flashbacks at opportune moments, viewers slowly get a sense of what's going on inside Jeong-Hye's mind. Layer after layer of her character begins to get peeled back as her dual worlds of memory and reality start to merge before our eyes. Slowly but surely, her inner pain is revealed to be a direct result of a complex web of associations involving her mother, her former love, and her absent father.
     In the midst of her quiet sadness, Jeong-Hye decides to take a chance and invite one of her regular customers over for dinner. Will the unnamed writer (Hwang Jeong Min of Waikiki Brothers) reopen her eyes to a new possibility for love? Or will she retreat to her inner world of quiet solitude once more? The answer to that question is slightly ambiguous, but perhaps hopeful.
     This Charming Girl is by all rights an atypical experience in modern cinema. Audiences accustomed to having their stories spoon-fed to them will not enjoy This Charming Girl. This is a quiet, ponderous, and leisurely paced film, so viewers searching for a fast-paced popcorn flick will need to look elsewhere for entertainment. The restrained approach on the part of the director will infuriate the ADD crowd. Although by no means pretentious, This Charming Girl is probably more of an art-house film than a rousing crowd-pleaser.
     Even without much dialogue, Kim Ji Soo's gives a revelatory debut performance, one definitely worthy of the accolades she's received since the film's release. Amazingly, she is able to convey a spectacular range of emotions with little more than a look or a gesture. Thanks to her winning performance and superb direction on the part of Lee Yoon-Ki, This Charming Girl amounts to a fine film and a haunting portrayal of how the psychological traumas of the past can impinge on one's life in the present. (Calvin McMillin, 2005)

Awards:

2004 Pusan International Film Festival
• Winner - New Currents Award
2005 Berlin International Film Festival
• Winner - NEPEC Award
Deauville Asian Film Festival
• Winner - Lotus Jury Prize
2005 Sundance Film Festival
• Nomination - Grand Jury Prize
18th Singapore International Film Festival
• Winner - Best Director (Lee Yoon-Ki)
• Winner - Best Actress (Kim Ji-Soo)

 
Availability: DVD (Korea)
Region 3 NTSC
Spectrum DVD
16x9 Anamorphic Widescreen
Korean Language Track
Dolby Digital 5.1
Removable Korean and English Subtitles
"Making of" Featurette, This Charming Girl - Their Story, This Charming Girl - Continuity, Audition, Music Poster, Footage from the Premiere, Behind-the-scenes Photo Sessions for the Film Poster, and Trailers
 

   
 
 
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