Love- There is both joy and pain in it, because that's exactly how the life is. There are so many different ways of expressing your love without saying 'I love you’. What if a film carries this with no pointless nail on sex, kiss and yet it turns out to be one of the most 'romantic' cinematic experience? My Sassy Girl (in Korean Yeopgijeogin Geunyeo) is the perfect mix of comedy, drama, romance and some of the best storytelling I've ever seen. This movie is so beautiful; has the most well defined characters you'll ever see on films that are true to how they really are. The situations are so interesting and absorbing that you tend to forget that you are being influenced by all the over-romanticizing.
The story begins when Kyun Woo, an immature but eccentric 25 year-old college student who doesn't have a clear direction in life meets the bizarre, drunken girl on a train platform late at night. Hilarity guarantees in the following scenes, how she becomes his girl friend, who has the faces of caring, psychopath and weird, seizing chances to slap him and humiliate him. The film has three parts- first half, second half and Overtime. The first half showcases the bizarre attitude of the girl to which the boy succumbs and does everything for her, setting up pure comedy and witty, hilarious sequences. The second half of the film explains the girl's bizarre attitude and unfolds all the drama behind the girl's comedic behavior in the first half. A very cleverly written script turns the laughing audience into a crying one in a short span of time. The odd sequences in first half are linked as the second half unfolds with pure melodrama. But the 'overtime' part brilliantly concludes all the comedy and drama that spread-out in the preceding two parts. The heart-warming ending (which I will not reveal, for I recommend that people watch it) left me laughing in tears.
The entire movie focuses on just two people, 'Kyun Woo' (Cha Tae Hyun) and Jeon Ji Hyun (Her name isn't even mentioned during the entire film, so we call her ‘The Girl’). The stars did a very good job of keeping up 'very' good chemistry. The guy who plays Kyun Woo has the most wonderful facial expressions. Since we see everything from Kyun-Woo’s point of view, his emotions varies from shambling, shy, pitiable and adorable for scenes when required. The girl just cracks me up with incredible expressions. Her enigmatic charm and acting (she laughs, threatens Kyun-Woo and cries in same scene) makes the film very appealing. Some of her expressions are just priceless; sometimes she needn’t say anything, her expressions speak for what we ought to know.
The exciting moments in the film were a surprise action scene, a blind date that bowls you in splits at the end, squash ball that always hits hero’s face, hero giving 10 rules to date to her new boyfriend. The cinematography of the film was outstanding, for it captured every scene perfectly, also showcasing the good-looking milieu of Korea. The soundtrack very much added to the emotion of the film's most significant sequences. I like the piano piece very much when Kyun Woo gives her a rose as she plays. Though the movie moves at a smooth pace, Jae-young Kwak's screenplay and direction, added with smart dialogues are incredible, keeps us occupied.
I'm sure some would avoid this film simply because it's Korean - but that's where you'd make a mistake. This one was certainly worth watching. Absolutely entertaining but maintaining a touching side to it. You'll laugh, you'll cry, no matter who you are. I guarantee it. Please avoid the poisoned lift of this film under same title in Hollywood (2008) and Bollywood version of Ugly Aur Pagli starring Mallika Sherawat.
Mr. Critic 5-Star: ****
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