REVIEW: My Sassy Girl (2001)

mysassygirl

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2001, Shin Cine Communications

Director:
Kwak Jae-Young
Producer:
Shin Chul
Writers:
Kim Ho-Sik (original novel)
Kwak Jae-Young (screenplay)
Cinematography:
Kim Sung-Bok
Editing:
Kim Sang-Beom

Cast:
Cha Tae-Hyun (Kyun-Woo)
Gianna Jun (The Girl)
Kim In-Mun (Kyun-Woo’s Dad)
Song Wok-Suk (Kyun-Woo’s Mom)
Han Jin-Hae (The Girl’s Father)
Hyun Sook-Hee (The Girl’s Mother)
Kim Il-Woo (Quintuplets)
Yoo Soon-Cheol (Old Man)
Seo Dong-Won (Deserter)

Based on an internet novel, this Korean film would become a hit film that made Il Mare star Gianna Jun a household name in her native Korea followed by a massive following all over the world.

Kyun-Woo is a university student who is deemed a loser. His aunt constantly harasses him into going on a date with the daughter of a friend of hers. One night for Kyun-Woo is about to change his life forever. While waiting for the subway, he comes across a drunken girl who nearly falls off the platform, but he saves her. On the train, she constantly looks at him and after puking on a passenger, she calls Kyun-Woo “honey”. After he ditches her at a hotel, Kyun-Woo is mistaken for a sexual predator but is later released due to a mistake.

The next day, Kyun-Woo receives a phone call from the girl, who demands to know who he is and to meet him. Kyun-Woo soon learns that the girl is emotionally distraught and he declares that he will help her by hanging out with her and doing the things she wants to do, no matter how crazy it can get. He just wants to see her extremely happy but Kyun Woo never expected to slowly begin falling in love with her. Will the girl find it in herself to reciprocate his feelings for her or will Kyun-Woo be nothing more than a cure for the issues she has?

Based on an internet novel apparent based on his memoirs, Kim Ho-Sik’s tale of finding love in the most unexpected way comes to life in Kwak Jae-Young’s beloved film. The story of a hapless loser who finds himself helping a girl who is just unhappy seems like another boring romantic comedy. However, when you see what this girl does in terms of the madness she puts herself and Kyun-Woo, then it is clear that this is not your typical rom-com whatsoever.

The driving force of the film is the performance, or rather, performances of the two leads. Cha Tae-Hyun is quite funny to watch as the loser Kyun-Woo, who despite going through all efforts to find so much as a date, slowly discovers love in the most unexpected way. Blood the Last Vampire‘s Gianna Jun virtually became an international sensation let alone a household name in her native South Korea with the role of the titular “sassy girl”, whose name is never revealed. The way she acts, from her introduction as completely drunk to even grimacing at times when Kyun-Woo inadvertently gets her extremely mad is quite as hilarious at times. The reason why he would put up with all of this abuse is that he sees her pain and finds himself to be a cure for that pain. Their dream sequences as quite fun to watch as well.

Who would have thought that this film would spawn five remakes including a straight-to-DVD Hollywood remake, a Japanese drama series, a Chinese-language thematic sequel, and remakes in Telugu and Nepali. That is just the level of impact this original Korean film has caused all over the world.

My Sassy Girl is truly an international hit film thanks to its breakaway from the typical romantic comedy and the driving performances of lead actors Cha Tae-Hyun and Gianna Jun. A definite must-see for any film fan.

WFG RATING: A+

DVD

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