Always (오직 그대만)
Synopsis: Having closed himself away from the world, former boxer Chul Min starts a new job as a parking lot attendant. One night, a visually impaired young woman, Jung Hwa, walks into his tollbooth to watch television with him. Jung Hwa’s bright spirit and smile in the face of adversity reach through to Chul Min’s heart and shine a ray of hope into both their lives, but their love and happiness may be short-lived.
Country: South Korea
Genre: Romance, melodrama
Director: Song Il-gon
Casting: So Ji Sub, Han Hyo Joo etc….
Always was one of my first Korean movie but also one of the first I really fell in love with. It had the perfect amount of everything I loved: it made me smile, it made me cry and had a perfect casting. That’s actually with that movie that So Ji Sub entered my “top best actor”. It was my first time seeing him but I didn’t need to see him in any other projects: I was utterly convinced and charmed. His role in Always remains for me his best performance (as well as his one in Sorry I Love You). Han Hyo Joo’s performance did not fall behind her male counterpart for all that. I’ve always been amazed by actors and actresses who were able to play the role of a blind person. I think that’s one of the most difficult role an actor can encounter. Han Hyo Joo exceeded all my hopes. It was as if this role was written for her (just like Cheol Min’s one seemed to be written for So Ji Sub). Her performance looked really natural and bubbly.
Always is a beautiful and sad story even though not of the most original on several aspects. Jeong Hwa comes to cross Cheol Min’s path completely by chance. Their meeting is quite simple. The movie actually starts on a quite lightweight note. We get to know the characters. We watch them becoming closer. We smile at their clumsy interaction. Jeong Hwa is a curious, cute woman. She is quite a chatterbox (but not an annoying one). I liked her repartee, her mischievousness. How optimistic and happy she always seemed. She wasn’t a very original heroine to be honest, but I loved how she seemed real. Despite her situation she always tried to look on the bright side. She was refreshing and gave off a warm light. On the other hand Cheol Min was a big lame guy who multiplied little and ungratifying jobs. He was rather the quiet kind and didn’t confide easily in people. He was quite clumsy and rough with words. I therefore loved seeing him opening himself to Jeong Hwa. His smile was priceless. It felt as if their happiness was my happiness.
But this feeling fainted little by little, letting place to a darker atmosphere. Halfway through., the movie became more serious. Twists and truth were revealed. Cruel fate. You can’t stop yourself from being utterly shocked by it and you know the following part won’t be as lightweight as the first one. The twist wasn’t surprising in itself and we were actually waiting for it: the movie couldn’t keep on, on such happy path after all (that might have become quite boring anyway). But its writing was quite a stroke of genius in my opinion. It allowed the movie to get the perfect amount of every needed ingredient to make a good movie. It also allowed us to be even more touched by Cheol Min’s character. You can clearly see his fight against his past, his feeling of guiltiness. I admired all his efforts made for a redemption. Rather than disappointment (because of his past) I sympathized with him even more and felt very close to him. He made me tear a lot, just as well as Jeong Hwa.
Always was a wonderful work in all aspects to sum up. The sceneries near the river were splendid, the making -with the game of light between the two different worlds of the characters- was really aesthetic while the performance, the actors and their AMAZING, heart-warming chemistry (one of the best couple I’ve ever seen) gave life to a beautiful plot. The only thing I could retain against it, would be the violin instrumental which was sometimes a bit too melodramatic near the end. But that remains a little details. I was a bit bothered by it at the second watching but that was all. I can only advise you to watch it otherwise! (I’m warning you though: the boxing fights are not really pretty- that’s box after all).
Note de Dushbadou: 9.5/10
Note de Whoovy: 9/10
Note finale: 9.5/10
NB: The trailer spoils a lot (and is kind of very cheesy). My advise: do not watch it!