The term “body switching” gets a radical twist in this Korean adaptation of a 2012 American web series about a romance with the strange twist imaginable.
Kim Woo-Jin is a master furniture craftsman. His life changed on his 18th birthday when he woke up to find out he wasn’t himself, literally. Every day, Woo-Jin wakes up as a different person. Some days, he is a man. Some days, he is a woman. Some days, he’s elderly. Some days, he’s a kid. Some days, he’s Asian and some days, he’s a foreigner. The only people who know this secret are his mother and his childhood friend, Sang-Beck, who also lives with Woo-Jin and works at the furniture designers.
Woo-Jin’s life takes an interesting turn upon meeting Han E-Soo, a worker at a local furniture store who is impressed with Woo-Jin’s designs. Staying up for two days, Woo-Jin is able to keep the same face and becomes close to E-Soo, until he falls asleep. When he wakes up as a woman, Woo-Jin tells E-Soo the truth about his affliction. At first, E-Soo is scared and wants nothing to do with him, but she realizes there is something there that has attracted her to Woo-Jin. They start a relationship, but will it be able to last due to Woo-Jin’s constant changes?
Based on a 2012 American web series that starred Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Topher Grace as the inner voice of a character that constantly changes, this film debut from director Baek Yong-Jeol proves that beauty can be in fact “skin deep” and it is all about the personality of the person, not how he or she looks. At least that seems to be the message Baek is trying to bring to this Korean film.
Nearly 100 different actors, from all over the world, take on the role of Woo-Jin with actor Yoo Yeon-Seok providing the narration as the inner voice of our constantly changing hero. Some actors appear even just for a few seconds of film time, but it proves the point of the character being complex in terms of appearance but shows he has the same heart and personality. Woo-Jin can be said to convey human emotion as as way to show the human spirit and way of life. He exhibits happiness, sadness, love, rejection, and virtually everything in between, no matter the appearance.
Han Hyo-Joo plays Woo-Jin’s love interest, furniture store worker Han E-Soo, as a person with complexes of her own. While Woo-Jin’s complexity comes in the constant changing of his appearance, E-Soo’s complexity comes from within. She is a woman who has her own issues and the relationship with Woo-Jin complicates things a bit, especially when a dark secret is revealed and could result in a major rift in the relationship. The film has that “opposite attract” sort of riff, and thought it may seem like Han Hyo-Joo may have felt somewhat weird to be conversing with so many actors at once, she pulls it off very nicely in her role. Lee Hong-Dwi and Lee Mi-Do bring a little bit of the comic relief as Woo-Jin’s childhood friend and E-Soo’s sister, all of whom have different points of view because while Sang-Beck knows Woo-Jin’s secret, Eun-Soo thinks her sister is being promiscuous and doesn’t know of the secret.
The Beauty Inside is a film with quite an interesting concept and surprisingly, it really works well here. The term “beauty is skin deep” is truly an understatement here with the leads having opposing complexities, yet still attempt to overcome them all in the name of love.
WFG RATING: A
A Next Entertainment World production in association with Yongfilm Ltd. Director: Baek Yong-Jeol. Producer: Syd Lim. Writers: Kim Seon-Jeong and Park Jeong-Ye; story by Noh Kyung-Hee. Cinematography: Kim Tae-Kyung. Editing: Yang Jin-Mo.
Cast: Han Hyo-Joo, Yoo Yeon-Seok, Park Seo-Joon, Lee Jin-Wook, Kim Joo-Hyuk, Juri Ueno, Bae Seong-Woo, Chun Woo-Hee, Lee Dong-Hwi, Moon Seok, Lee Mi-Do, Lee Kyung-Yeong.