Romance Films (멜로 영화)

Here you will find reviews of Korean romance films (멜로 영화). Please click on the picture, and you will be taken to the review.

3-Iron (빈집)

3-Iron (빈집)

3-Iron (빈집) – ★★★★☆

3-Iron (빈집) is an incredibly romantic, even dream-like film with a highly critical core of contemporary Korean masculinity. The Korean title ‘빈집’ actually means ‘vacant house’, denoting both the abodes Tae-suk frequents as well as the vacuum of ethics within modern men. Director Kim Ki-duk has crafted his critique within a powerful and passionate, yet fragile and endearing romance that offers a unique and refreshing tale on the tenderness of love.”

Always (오직 그대만)

Always (오직 그대만)

Always (오직 그대만) – ★★★☆☆

“As an addition to the romance genre, Always (오직 그대만) is an enjoyable and competent film that contains all the conventions inherent to the category. While fans of traditional romance may rejoice, the lack of cliche transcendence conveys the narrative and protagonists as highly contrived and unoriginal for audiences desiring a fresh interpretation. Intentional or otherwise, Always (오직 그대만) is, in its entirety, a entertaining cliche.”

Bungee Jumping of Their Own (번지점프를 하다)

Bungee Jumping of Their Own (번지점프를 하다)

Bungee Jumping of Their Own (번지점프를 하다) – ★★★★☆

“While the first act may be the stuff of traditional generic romantic dramas, Bungee Jumping of Their Own (번지점프를 하다) genuinely shines when it rejects such conventions and explores the notions of love through its alternative and quite original perspective. [...]while Lee Byeong-heon is excellent as a sexually confused love-lore figure. Bungee Jumping of Their Own (번지점프를 하다) is an entertaining and thought-provoking film, one which will certainly reverberate with audiences long after the final credits roll.”

Cats and Dogs (그 강아지 그 고양이)

Cats and Dogs (그 강아지 그 고양이)

Cats and Dogs (그 강아지 그 고양이) – ★★★☆☆

Cats and Dogs is Korea’s – and the world’s – first feature length film shot entirely with iphone 4s cameras. Surprisingly the romantic-comedy isn’t as gimmicky as such a feature would have you believe, as the film is quite charming throughout despite the over-abundance of cliches. Director Min Byung-Woo (민병우) wisely keeps things simple. Cats and Dogs is a cliched and limited, yet fun and silly, addition to the genre.”

The Classic (클래식)

The Classic (클래식)

The Classic (클래식) – ★★★☆☆

“As an homage of sorts to traditional love stories, The Classic (클래식) succeeds in employing an array of charming cliches that – due to the nostalgic perspective of Joo-hee’s story – are engaging and entertaining portrayals of old-school love. Yet the film stalls through the incredibly unbalanced narrative shift between the past and the present [...] As such The Classic is something of a mixed offering, yet it offers enough charisma to be an enjoyable tale.”

Couples (커플즈)

Couples (커플즈)

Couples (커플즈) – ★★☆☆☆

Couples (커플즈) is a lackluster addition to the romantic-comedy fold, due to the highly contrived narrative and absence of genuine emotion throughout. While certain scenes – notably portraying central couple Yoo-suk and Ae-young – are endearing they are halted from development through the decision to craft the film as non-linear”

Cyrano Agency (시라노;연애조작단)

Cyrano Agency (시라노;연애조작단)

Cyrano Agency (시라노;연애조작단) – ★★★☆☆

Cyrano Agency (시라노;연애조작단) is an enjoyable take on the romantic-comedy genre, particularly the wonderful opening sequence that plays with notions of romance in a postmodernist fashion. The decision to deviate from such a winning formula is puzzling, as the focus on a love triangle and the insincerity of the love portrayed albeit not explored, detract from the pace, tone, and promise offered in the first fifteen minutes. That said, fans of the genre will no doubt be appeased.”

The Harmonium in My Memory (내 마음의 풍금)

The Harmonium in My Memory (내 마음의 풍금)

The Harmonium in My Memory (내 마음의 풍금) – ★★★★☆

The Harmonium in My Memory (내 마음의 풍금) is a wonderfully endearing romantic tale of the hurdles and triumphs of ‘first love.’ The nostalgia is perfectly balanced throughout and lends an incredible innocence and delicacy to the narrative through the subtle use of film stock, mise-en-scene, and music from the era. [The director] opts to convey the time of love before serious complexity enters, making The Harmonium in My Memory a light-hearted and touching love letter.”

How to Use Guys with Secret Tips (남자사용설명서)

How to Use Guys with Secret Tips (남자사용설명서)

How to Use Guys with Secret Tips (남자사용설명서) – ★★★★☆

How to Use Guys with Secret Tips (남자사용설명서) is a wonderfully wacky and colourful romantic comedy, full of visual and musical vitality. Director Lee Won-seok is brilliantly inventive as he plays with genre and cinematic conventions, infusing the film with a seemingly boundless energy and enthusiasm. The laughs come thick and fast as they are based in truth, including sexism in the workplace and the fragility of the male ego, which are explored to highly comical effect. While the final act falls back on cliche and predictability, How to Use Guys with Secret Tips is a very entertaining and fun rom-com.”

Humming (허밍)

Humming (허밍)

Humming (허밍) – ★★☆☆☆

Humming (허밍) [...] has a premise full of potential for romance through the spiritual connections and nostalgic notions of a love long forgotten. Yet the film never gets close to fulfilling such promise due to the unbalanced narrative structure and characters that ultimately make for a bland and predictable viewing experience. In the led up to the cliched finaleHumming does become more engaging yet it is too little too late for what is essentially a TV film.”

I'm a Cyborg, But That's OK (싸이보그지만 괜찮아)

I’m a Cyborg, But That’s OK (싸이보그지만 괜찮아)

I’m a Cyborg, But That’s OK (싸이보그지만 괜찮아) – ★★★★☆

I’m a Cyborg, But That’s OK is a rare and unique treat, portraying mentally ill patients not as figures of ridicule but of poignancy, comedy, and of love. Director Park Chan-wook employs a whimsical and creative style that is engaging and entertaining, emphasizing his ability produce tender and heartfelt romance within the context of fantasy. While the narrative shies away from dramatic character defining events, the gently-paced and thoughtful character construction, accompanied with the surrealism of their perception of reality, is both charming and heartwarming.”

Late Blossom (그대를 사랑합니다)

Late Blossom (그대를 사랑합니다)

Late Blossom (그대를 사랑합니다) – ★★★★☆

Late Blossom (그대를 사랑합니다) is a wonderfully moving film, conveying romance and dilemmas for an often under-represented generation. It is thought-provoking and poignant, eschewing the cliches often ascribed to more generic examples that are arguably naive in their representations of love. That said, the narrative is not equally shared amongst the quartet of protagonists which is a shame [...] However, Late Blossom is [...] amongst the best in representing romance for senior members of society.”

A Millionaire's First Love (백만장자의 첫사랑)

A Millionaire’s First Love (백만장자의 첫사랑)

A Millionaire’s First Love (백만장자의 첫사랑) – ★★☆☆☆

“Despite opening with a rather contrived premise, A Millionaire’s First Love (백만장자의 첫사랑) excels upon moving beyond teenage high school concerns and embracing the romance between the central couple. While the ages of the actors are an incredible distraction, such problems dissipate through the emotionally charged and moving scenes that occur as their love develops, and as such the film will undoubtedly please teenage audiences and romance fans to whom A Millionaire’s First Love (백만장자의 첫사랑) is aimed.”

A Moment to Remember (내 머리 속의 지우개)

A Moment to Remember (내 머리 속의 지우개)

A Moment to Remember (내 머리 속의 지우개) – ★★★★☆

A Moment to Remember (내 머리 속의 지우개) is a wonderfully charming, poignant, and romantic film. Such potency is ultimately due to screenwriter/director Lee Jae-han’s dedication to characterization which is remarkable throughout, which Son Ye-jin and Jeong Woo-seong perform with integrity and sincerity. While more depth could have been applied to the later stages of the disease, the organic manner of the central relationship and the sensitivity in which their love is presented make A Moment to Remember an absolute must-see romantic film.”

My Love, My Bride (나의 사랑 나의 신부)

My Love, My Bride (나의 사랑 나의 신부)

My Love, My Bride (나의 사랑 나의 신부) – ★★★☆☆

“A remake of the 1990 classic, the updated version of My Love, My Bride by director Lim Chan-sang and screenwriter Kim Ji-hye is lighthearted and enjoyable fare. The story is largely hit-and-miss on deriving comedy from the realities of newlywed couples, mostly due to the unfair male-centered focus, particularly as the husband in question is quite immature. Yet there are enough fun moments to be had to make the film an entertaining viewing experience.”

My P.S. Partner (AKA Whatcha' Wearin'?) (나의 P.S. 파트너)

My P.S. Partner (AKA Whatcha’ Wearin’?) (나의 P.S. 파트너)

My P.S. Partner (AKA Whatcha’ Wearin’?) (나의 P.S. 파트너) – ★★★☆☆

My P.S. Partner is an entertaining and enjoyable romantic-comedy, one that employs the use of sexual language and jokes to offer a fresh approach to the genre. While it succeeds slightly more than it fails, the film is also quite charismatic due to lead actors Kim Ah-jeong and Ji Seong as the unhappy lovers. Director Byun Sung-Hyun has crafted a light-hearted tale of romance that is humorous as well as containing the odd critique of contemporary relationships in Korea, making My P.S. Partner a fun mix of the current and the cliche.”

Romantic Island (로맨틱 아일랜드)

Romantic Island (로맨틱 아일랜드)

Romantic Island (로맨틱 아일랜드) – ★★☆☆☆

“It is impossible not to won over by the beautiful Boracay beaches in Romantic Island (로맨틱 아일랜드), and the premise of disenchanted citizens seeking escapist pastures is as sound as ever. Yet the unbalanced time allocations for each couple, the contrivances within the narrative and the general absence of comedy ultimately detract from the entertainment value. Despite this Romantic Island is a ‘feel-good’ film that will undoubtedly please the tourist board of The Philippines.”

Chilling Romance (오싹한 연애)

Spellbound (Chilling Romance) (오싹한 연애)

Spellbound (AKA Chilling Romance, 오싹한 연애) – ★★★☆☆

Spellbound (오싹한 연애) is a perfectly competent piece of romantic cinema, yet therein lies the problem as the film does precious little to differentiate itself from other mediocre examples of the genre. [...] With a promising premise, Spellbound could have been a highly enjoyable and alternative approach to the romantic-comedy. However the specters – and Son Ye-jin’s impetus – appear all too briefly, focusing on a relationship that crucially lacks romance. While it is competently directed and acted, Spellbound is ultimately a film for fans of light-hearted rom-coms.”

Two Weddings and a Funeral (두 번의 결혼식과 한 번의 장례식)

Two Weddings and a Funeral (두 번의 결혼식과 한 번의 장례식)

Two Weddings and a Funeral (두 번의 결혼식과 한 번의 장례식) – ★★★☆☆

Two Weddings and a Funeral (두 번의 결혼식과 한 번의 장례식) is an interesting take on homosexuality in contemporary Korea, with a compelling central couple (who convey more romance and passion than a lot of heterosexual counterparts) and a mixture of comical sequences and socio-cultural examinations. However the disparate features never quite manage to converge as a unified whole, with a supporting cast that offers precious little while other more intriguing arcs are brushed aside.”

A Werewolf Boy (늑대소년)

A Werewolf Boy (늑대소년)

A Werewolf Boy (늑대소년) – ★★★☆☆

“A Werewolf Boy (늑대소년) is a beautifully shot, visually stunning fairy tale and a genuine testament to writer/director Jo Sung-hee’s (조성희) style. The use of colour, lighting and composition work harmoniously together in conveying a wondrous nostalgic tale of innocence and love, ably performed by the cast. While certain protagonists are a tad underdeveloped, A Werewolf Boy is an engaging, highly enjoyable and delightful fable.”

Wonderful Radio (Love On-Air) (원더풀 라디오)

Wonderful Radio (Love On-Air) (원더풀 라디오)

Wonderful Radio (AKA Love On-Air) (원더풀 라디오) – ★★☆☆☆

Wonderful Radio (원더풀 라디오) is very much a comercially-driven star vehicle for Lee Min-jeong, which would certainly be no bad thing were it not for the directionless, bland and predictable narrative, and the incredibly underdeveloped characterisation. The film does attempt to correct the issues with the introduction of emotional content and an interesting perspective on the world of K-pop, yet these measures are brought in far too late and appear all too briefly to make an impact. As such, Wonderful Radio is a lacklustre romantic-comedy that is instantly forgettable.”

You're My Pet (너는 펫)

You’re My Pet (너는 펫)

You’re My Pet (너는 펫) – ★★☆☆☆

You’re My Pet (너는 펫) is unfortunately a rather shallow romantic-comedy, which fails at both being romantic or comedic. The premise is a fine one, although the potential is never fully realised as the archaic constructions of gender identity overwhelm it, as does Jang Geun-seok who uses the film as little more than a self-promoting device.”

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