After four years of dating, Yeong-min (Jo Jeong-seok (조정석) decides it’s finally time for him to propose to girlfriend Mi-yeong (Shin Min-ah (신민아). Despite their constant arguing, Mi-yeong accepts the proposal and for a while the two live in wedded bliss, much to the chagrin of their friends. Yet soon the realities of living with each other sink in and the newlyweds begin to fight with fresh vigor, creating an enormous amount of stress, as well as comical moments, between them. As their relationship becomes increasingly fraught both Mi-yeong and Yeong-min begin to develop their hobbies and lives independently, until issues arise that force them to reconcile their differences.
My Love, My Bride (나의 사랑 나의 신부) is a remake of director Lee Myeong-se’s (이명세) 1990 classic, updated to reflect contemporary relationships by director Lim Chan-sang (임찬상) and screenwriter Kim Ji-hye (김지혜). The result is a romantic-comedy which is very much lighthearted entertainment, one that attempts to derive comedy from the real-life situations newlywed couples face and moderately succeeds, yet is lacking in sufficient depth to make it more than mildly enjoyable.
As the poster and trailer suggest, My Love, My Bride is a fun take on the silly and trivial matters that afflict newlyweds, and the stressful situations that arise from them. From the moment the film begins the playful approach to marriage is quite enjoyable, as the lively text message conversation between Yeong-min and his friends debates the pros and cons of getting hitched, through to the rampant sex life the couple relish in following their nuptials. Director Lim does a great job in conveying frivolity through such sequences, with effective scenes impressively edited to keep the jokes coming. As the pace slows the story begins to become more concerned with the realities of marriage and the fights that arise, seeking to find humour in such moments. It’s a largely hit and miss affair, with scenes such as Yeong-min’s wandering eyes and jealousy at his wife’s interaction with another man comically executed, while others – that are mostly concerned with Mi-yeong’s life – are less effective.
This is primarily due to the fact that My Love, My Bride is a mostly male-centered narrative, which is unfair given the nature of the relationship. Director Lim attempts to generate sympathy for Yeong-min as something of a struggling artist with a nagging wife, but in reality he is quite the man-child. Mi-yeong’s complaints about urinating on the toilet seat and general lack of hygiene are wholly justified, while foreign audiences will certainly take issue with Mi-yeong’s almost slave status as she takes care of her husband dutifully while he merely barks orders. Luckily the film does attempt to address such issues, but due to the nature of the comedy it is not given sufficient depth. Similarly, the contrast between the couple as they start to consider other potential partners suffers from the same fate. Yeong-min’s thought-process and encounters are quite believable and funny, while Mi-yeong’s are far from it, lacking the sincerity of a woman’s true perspective and the realistic examination the film proclaims.
My Love, My Bride interestingly explores how both Mi-yeong and Yeong-min have subsumed creative aspects of themselves in the relationship by incorporating their hobbies within the story. Again, the device is more apparent and developed for Yeong-min, as his focus on poetry becomes another stressful element in the marriage. His writing has the potential for a deeper perspective on the relationship but it is never explored, again forcing Mi-yeon to suffer in silence. The few scenes in which Mi-yeon’s artistic ability appear are also wasted opportunities to further examine her character, as aside from fleeting moments, her painting has little impact on the story.
In a bid to wrap up all the narrative strands and bring the couple closer, My Love, My Bride unfortunately falls into the same trap as many other Korean rom-coms by employing unnecessary hospital melodrama. Similar to this year’s earlier comedy Venus Talk, the inclusion of the melodramatic device – as well as sickly-sweet flashbacks – comes out of left field and is quite contrived, though has the desired effect of creating nice closure.
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.