Starring: Lee Jung Jae (Air City, Feelings, Sandglass, Typhoon, The Thieves, etc.), Jeon Ji Hyun (aka Jun Gianna, White Valentine, My Sassy Girl, Daisy, Windstruck, The Thieves, etc.)
Twinkies: 4 out of 5
Synopsis: It is 1999, and a young woman, Eun Joo (Jeon Ji Hyun), is moving to Seoul after having lived in a beautifully designed, waterfront house called Il Mare. But before she departs for Seoul, she leaves a Christmas card in the mailbox for the next occupant of the house, welcoming him/her to this artistically built house and asking that her mail be forwarded to her new address in Seoul.
This card is received by a young architect, Sung Hyun (Lee Jung Jae), in the year 1997. He sends her a letter in reply and politely reminds her that the year is 1997, not 1999.
As the two correspond through letters, they soon realize that they are somehow able to communicate despite a 2-year span: she lives in 1997 while he lives in 1999. Filling a void for each other, Eun Joo and Sung Hyun begin an epistolary courtship that transcends time and one that ultimately helps them heal and fall in love.
Musings: This was one of my first, if not very first, Korean movie that I chose to watch.
If this story sounds familiar to you, it’s probably because Hollywood tried to remake this a few years ago under the title, Lake House, starring Sandra Bullock and Keana Reeves. Because I love this movie so much, I purchased and watched Lake House but found the Americanized rendition sweet yet flat. My lackluster response to the Bullock-Reeves pairing, both of whom I absolutely adored in Speed, clearly reflects just how subtly yet powerfully the two main characters are brought to life by Jeon Ji Hyun and Lee Jung Jae.
In much the same way that My Sassy Girl, another Jeon Ji Hyun film, captured the hearts and minds of so many of its viewers, Il Mare is bound to do the same, albeit in a slow and gentle way. This is definitely one of those films that takes its time to develop the characters; as they grow, we journey with them in their growth and come to care for them, cheering when good things happen and lamenting when they don’t.
As a “Movie Monday” selection, I think you’ll find this a pleasant way to spend your evening. And since it was recently announced that Jeon Ji Hyun will soon marry her childhood friend, I thought it only fitting to celebrate her good news by introducing another one of her films. From the first time that I saw her in Fascinate My Heart with Park Shin Yang (Lovers in Paris), I suspected that her star power would rise, and rise it has. Congratulations, Jeon Ji Hyun! May you have a wonderful and lasting marriage! And to my twinkles, I hope you enjoy this movie as much as I did. 🙂