‘Lost Love’ goes beyond drama stereotyping
That might be what happened to the film critics who assembled for the screening of the film, “Lost Love.” With their arms crossed, they sat cramped in a theater in Jongno waiting for a melodrama to open up the first working day of the New Year. A tough audience.
It was only after watching the film that most realized that this movie was certainly not the shmaltz fest they had expected.
Despite the director’s reputation for making macho-comedy films, and probably because of the actor’s image from his previous film as a Korean version of Sylvester Stallone, the film drew out loud applause from the surprised audience for telling a very subtle love story.
Indeed, Choo Chang-min, the director of the hillbilly comedy, “Mapado,” and Sul Kyoung-gu from the mean, tough blockbusters “Silmido,” and “Public Enemy” managed to pull off a film-critic coup.
“This is a film that needs an actor who can act like both a 20-year-old and 30-year-old man in love,” said Choo. “I thought Sul would be the right person.”
Actress Song Yun-ah plays the female lead role of a homely college student named Yeonju, who secretly admires her long-time friend Ujae (played by Sul), the buff-studly type (yup, he still has those muscles to show in this film) and a school athlete.
Of course, he doesn’t find Yeonju attractive at first, and as soon as you start assuming the two will soon fall in love, you are shown to be wrong. The story takes place over the ten years Yeonju and Ujae go through after graduation before they finally meet again. There is no abrupt message such as “ten years later” appearing at the bottom of the screen. And there is no sudden change in the plot either, as Yeonju grows up to be an attractive veterinarian and Ujae winds up as a failed athlete earning a living as a part-time physical education teacher.
Although the two seem to be always there for each other, they never seem to have the chance to get closer. In between their long period of separation, there are other love interests that the characters want to believe are the right people for them.
The film is slow-paced and gives enough time for the older audience to reflect on their youth and wonder if they did the same things (most likely, they did).
The unrequited love, the wait-and-see policy and the hearts palpitating show of deeper emotions. The man says he is sorry the morning after he sleeps with a woman. The woman turns away hurt.
The story and the lines may sound out-dated for the younger audience, but they were enough to rouse sympathy from the older audience members.
The film opens Jan. 19.
by Lee Min-a