Happy New Year/A Year End Medley

In the category of “movies you didn’t know you needed”, how about a Korean version of Love, Actually? Anyone? Anyone? @JulesLaLaLand?

Confession time: I saw Love, Actually when it came out and thought it was “fine” and never thought of it again for about ten years when I realized it was a bone of considerable contention. The aforementioned Jules has a number of criticisms—well, okay, mainly one, that it’s just eight under-developed screenplays—and I can’t argue with that. Partly because it’s true, and partly because it’s been 20 years, and any sort of reflection on the film (apart from some performances and a tragically prophetic plotline for Liam Neeson) would—well, let’s just say I don’t see how I come out a winner by dwelling on it.

Too, I do recall that the connections between the stories in Richard Curtis’ film felt tenuous and contrived like, “Well, let’s thread these stories together…somehow.” But again I watched it and moved on back in 2003.

But maybe I'm wrong.

I don’t think I’m the only one who would look at this and think, “Oh, a Korean ‘Love, Actually’!”

Nonetheless, the poster for the Korean version recalled the English film enough that I intuited that the Korean movie was emulating it. And the Korean movie, the title of which I still don’t really know—apparently made for TV according to IMDB!—tackles two of the main issues with the original film: It has only six stories, instead of eight, and the stories are more tightly woven together, all taking place in a fancy hotel between Christmas and New Years. It’s also less preposterous. Do these changes help?

Maybe. It felt like the two main characters Big Businessman and Hotel Maid had stronger character development than Prime Minister and 10 Dowling Street Maid. And their story arcs allowed/required them to care about other people in a larger sense I don’t recall from the 2003 film. For The Boy and I, having to sort out six stories and distinguish all the characters was a minus Koreans doubtless wouldn’t have as much trouble with. Then there’s that highly memed but rather troubling story arc with the guy from “The Walking Dead” pining after Keira Knightly when she’s just married his best friend—I didn’t sense any equivalent of that, thankfully.

Awful. I apologize...for nothing.

Pretty maid all in the snow?

The Boy was not super-impressed. I liked it a little bit more. With both of us, of course, the bar for Korean movies is pretty high and this would definitely be on the lower side.

I did find it amusing that the Christmas carols played in the movie were Jesus-heavy. I seem to recall that the ones in Love, Actually were pretty non-denominational, except for “Silent Night” in the aforementioned “lie to your new husband scene”.

Also somewhat interestingly the movie was popular enough in Korea that it was (or is going to be) shown as a six-episode TV show, with the stories fleshed out a bit more. That might actually work better.

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