by Jason Suzuki
There are two genres that stand out as prime examples of modern Korean cinema: the revenge thriller and the rom-com. My Ordinary Love Story has elements of both but through its twists and turns, the bottom line is that this film is a very special exploration of relationships and the trust required to pull them off. In order to enjoy the full effect of the film it’s important to go in as blind as possible so here is the most basic relaying of the film’s starting point: Eun-Jin is a woman whose every relationship has failed because of the lies and infidelities of the men. Because of this, with her current relationship with Hyeon-Suk she acts a little more forceful and controlling, refusing to be taken advantage of again. When she sees some suspicious texts on Hyeon-Suk’s phone she decides to investigate with the help of her police officer friend So-Young. To say any more would take away immensely from the joy of seeing where this simple act of distrust takes her.
The other step to enjoying the film is giving it a second viewing almost immediately after the first. The twists and turns the films takes during the first viewing, and all the revelations had through them now inform everything in the first half, giving scenes initially used to set up the story added depth. The relationship in the film becomes so much more emotional and the film much richer for what it has to say about the give and take necessary in a relationship from both sides. This film continues the lineage of not only great revenge thrillers and romantic comedies from South Korea, but also fits in with the other Korean films who refuse to stay in one genre, so as to better convey its ideas.
Jason Suzuki is co-editor to Cinema Adrift.