Wednesday, 11 March 2009

A Love (2007)

Korean title: 사랑 (Sa-rang)

What’s popping:

I am disturbed. If you’re wondering why suicide is so common among Korean celebrities, it could be because life is imitating art. In this film alone, we have two suicides. Now doesn’t that tell you how much life – with all its disappointments and tragedies – is valued?

Like it or not, the depiction of suicide as an escape from the heartbreak and misery life can bring influences today’s youth…and adults too – yeah, don’t think you’re off the hook.

But let’s leave such moralistic views aside as we look into A Love, a tragic love story about a couple who are dealt with an extremely cruel destiny. (If you're the weepy kind, bring out the tissues.)

Two teens meet and fall in love. Sin-ho (Joo Jin-mo) is a school bully who fights his way through any issues. He is tough but his kryptonite is a girl named Mi-ju (Park Shi-yeon), a girl who is the only person who has been kind to him.

Their budding friendship is short-lived as Mi-ju’s family moves away when creditors come a-calling. Years later, we see Sin-ho in high school, working for a sports scholarship through taekwondo.

Good friends: 'So we're going swimming together this evening, right?'

As things turn out, he meets Mi-ju (again) and her dysfunctional family. A double tragedy occurs and Mi-ju is left on her own. Sin-ho then vows to protect Mi-ju for the rest of his life. And he’s a man of his word.

He keeps his promise even when he is put behind bars.

While in prison, Mi-ju cuts off all ties with Sin-ho and the protagonist is left holding on to a shifting hope of requited devotion. When he is released from the slammer, he crosses path with the rich Chairman Yoo (Joo-hyeon) who promises him power as long as he works for him as a bodyguard. Sin-ho agrees and becomes like a son to Chairman Yoo.

Seven years later, fate deals another cruel blow when Sin-ho discovers that Chairman Yoo’s new mistress is none other than his lost love, Mi-ju!

Joo Jin-mo deftly carries the flick as he expertly portrays the tough and pure-hearted Sin-ho. He’s the kind of man whom you’d want on your side – loyal and trustworthy, Sin-ho doesn’t think twice in sacrificing everything to keep his promises.

Ka-boom!: 'Holy mackerel, these Grade A fireworks rock!'

Viewers will easily sympathise with Sin-ho as he deals with the twisted circumstances. And the sad part is, he doesn’t get a break from them.

However, the circumstances he lands himself in is still very much his own doing. Like he says, he alone makes the choices that lead to his destiny. It’s just unfortunate that his fate turns out to be so nasty.

Park Shi-yeon does well as Mi-ju, a character who like Sin-ho, is also dealt an unfair hand in life.

Fate doesn’t seem to be on the couple’s side as again and again, their paths cross but their love is hindered.

The synopsis on the DVD reads: A man’s fight against his damned destiny begins! As funny as it sounds, that sentence actually encapsulates what A Love is all about.

So tragic.

The plot:

Sin-ho is a man whom Lady Luck seems to despise. He meets his first love at 17 but since the day he met her, it’s an uphill battle with destiny to stay together. There is always something or someone in the way of their happiness.

Unhappy: 'Sin-ho (Joo Jin-mo) is depressed because
life's so unfair.'

Will the couple overcome the unfair challenges in their way or will they succumb to the cruel fate?

Watch it:

A friend lent us her DVD :-). Get A Love VCD of your own!

Pics credit: HanCinema

More K-popped! Movie reviews here


Harleydaz said...

Hi Liz

I bought “A Love” as soon as it was available, but not for the reasons others would.
I happen to be a Kim Min Joon fan and I am crushed you did not mention him.
I know what you are thinking is Harleydaz leaving Oh Ji-ho for MJ?
I was taught the road to love is very bumpy it’s always wise to carry a spare.

All kidding aside.

It's worth watching tragedies and all. I would recommend it to others.

Wawa said...

the plot sounds nice but it seems too heavy for me... hahaha!!!

owh, i recommend you to watch 'Baby & Me'... i haven't watch it yet but all my friends recommend me to watch... & when i read the plot, sound interesting... and the baby mason so damneee cute!!!

Vic in Long Beach, CA said...

Girls doyou recommend this? I have to agree with Wawa, this does sound like too many K-dramas that over-do the drama to a point of making the film unbelievable. I like "A Moment to Remember" but it is classic for doing this. If you could borrow it again, would you?

dokebi said...


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may i pull ur attention to

? thx

just an interesting subject that u ppl might be able to cover

Orchid said...

hi vic, to answer your question, i wouldn't watch this again. Didn't quite like it. Although Joo Jin-moo did do a good job with his character.

amy_meteorgdn said...

I like this movie.. I'm the tearjerking type.. just hate the suicide thing.. ooh speaking of Min-joon.. hate the 'rape part'..

amy_meteorgdn said...

But I like Min-joo.. thats why hate him as bad guy.. hahaha :p

Anonymous said...

I'm a Joo Jin Mo fan after watching him in Ddae Ryuh, but this movie was a disappointment. Koreans are definitely better at making dramas rather than movies!

Anonymous said...

If you can take "a film" as shjowing "a slice of reality/life."...and if you want to experience superb acting and intense & extreme emotions,
this movie is highly recommendable for you!

This film is all about "Passion" and "Intensity."

The director of "A Love" is famous for his noir gangster films such as his previous flick, "Chin-goo (Friends)."
Both films take place in Busan, where thick Busan dialect, friendship, love, jealousy, and violence get intertwined.

What I really loved about this film is its intensity and passion.

God Father-like slow arty Cinematography is superb, and
Ju Jin-mo's impossibly firy love for Miju was very touching.

There's this very Korean emotion called "hahn" throughout the film, which only Koreans could understand...

I didn't see "Ssang-wha-jum (Frozen flowers)" with which Ju Jin-mo got the "Best Actor's Award" at "Baek-Sang" Movie Awards recently.
But so far, I found Ju's most haunting acting from "A Love."

And by the way, he's V-E-R-Y HOT *WINK* in this film!

fraulein said...

Nice review and I am with the two leads so I wldnt mind giving it a shot

Knowing Korean melo-movies, there will be a part that makes me shed a tear or two. Question though - are there many such moments? I cannot stand it if it's too weepy.

fraulein said...

* ok with

Orchid said...

@fraulein, it's not too weepy. But JJM gets beaten up a lot!

film junkie said...

>> Koreans are definitely better at making dramas rather than movies!<<

I personally think Koreans are as good in making films as in making dramas!
Or even better..

Check out this article on Hollywood's remakes of countless Korean films.

When Hollywood Rips Off South Korea

Other than films that were mentioned in the article, more films that were (or will be) remade:

"Into the Mirror" -- "Mirror"

Omni-bus style (experimental) gangster film, "Die Bad"

Korean comic book series, "The Priest" will be made into a film by a director who produced "Iron Man" and "Sin City."

Another Park Chan Wook's vengeance trilogy "Sympathy for Lady Vengeance" will be remade by Danny Boyle (who swept 12 awards at Oscar with "Slumdog Millionaire" this year), starring Charlize Theron.

film junkie said...

Heard "Scandal Makers" (AKA "Speed Scandal") will be also remade by Hollywood.

"Ssang Wha Jum (Frozen Flowers)" that deals with homosexuality and "Speed Scandal" were two most watched films in Korea in 2008!

Hollywood will Remake Korea's Speed Scandal

Orchid said...

@film junkie. Have you seen Speed Scandal or Frozen Flower? I would like to watch those movies. But the DVDs have not been released yet.

film junkie said...


I saw Speed Scandal -- the film was super-hilarious!
It's a must-see film:-)
Cha Tae Hyun's first hit film since "My Sassy Girl"
It was as explosively popular as My Sassy Girl in Korea this year.

As for "Frozen Flower", I missed it:(
I'm waiting for the DVD to come out.

Yu Ha, the director of "Once Upon a Time in High School" (starring Gwon Sang Woo/Han Ga In -- One of my Top Five Korean films) and "Dirty Carnival" (Jo In Sung) made "Frozen Flower".

Jo In Sung got the best actor's award last year with "Dirty Carnival"
and this year, Ju Jin Mo received best actor's award with "Frozen Flower".
So many actors want to star in this director's film!

The trailer looks REAL exquisite ^^

Frozen Flower Trailer - Jo In Sung, Joo Jin Mo, Song Ji Hyo

Orchid said...

@film junkie, thanks for the feedback. I am looking forward to Frozen Flower too.

Yeah i've seen Dirty Carnival and thought Jo In-sung was really good in that movie.

Wawa said...

okay, just watched Baby & Me... rented the dvd @ Video Ezy! so hillarious yet very touch... i shed a tears during the airport's scenes :P

and baby mason is the star! hahaha...

Liz said...

I really liked Joo Jin-mo here, but would I watch this movie again? Not really.

The reason being there are other great movies around that I have missed/ am missing. This isn't in my favourite list.

Thanks to everyone for the many movies to see, so little time :-(.

JenRo said...

I bought "A Love" for the sole reason of watching JJM. I have become a big fan since watching him in "Queen of the Game". I think he is a great actor and does not restrict himself to stereotype roles, "Frozen Flower" being case in point. "A Love" was just OK for me. I much prefer happy endings :)


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