Can you recall the last movie which made you drop your defenses and your cynical view of the world and relationships? Can you recall the last movie which made you yearn for something which you knew was all reel but you hoped that it was real? Can you recall the last movie which made you invest so much in the lead characters that you forgot where you were and cried your soul out? Can you remember the last movie which made you reminiscence of a time when you truly and really believed in fairy tales?
I do, well some of them anyway, couple of movies do pop in mind which might answer most of the questions I ask, ‘Jerry Maguire’, ‘Love Story’, ‘The Notebook’ and ‘50 First Dates’. But if you look at the release dates of each of these movies, Jerry Maguire – 1996, Love Story – 1970, The Notebook – 2004, 50 First Dates – 2004, it has been more than a decade since I have seen these movies.
2004, apparently seems to be the year, fairy tales for the new century were written and translated on screen. One movie which seem to have missed the public eye, much like the solitary tear you wipe away after you have decided that you have cried your heart out was ‘A Moment to Remember’.
‘A Moment to Remember’ is a South Korean movie, based on a Japanese television drama; the South Korean title literally translates as ‘Eraser in My Head’. It is a simple story about a young girl and a young guy, who meet, fall in love, get married and then the girl begins to lose memory. It may sound like just any other movie, this review may read like just another review, but it is not.
The story is simple and unassuming like a cotton thread, sewing the many stories in the movie together. The crux of the story is about a girl meets boy. But it is so much more than that. Apart from being a love story, it is also a story about a father – daughter relationship, a story about ex – lovers, a story about an estranged mother and her son, a story about a student seeking his mentor’s validation. The movie was like a multilayered chocolate cake. Each layer telling a story of its own, but at the end of the day it is a simple love story.
A love story for which I needed subtitles to understand the dialogues, a love story where you don’t have to verbalize every single thought, a love story where songs played in the background, a love story which made me bawl my eyes out like a pregnant cloud exploding over a parched piece of farm land.
ALL the actors, including the extras play along like pieces of a jigsaw, fitting themselves snugly into what is a beautiful mosaic of a sad love story. But the movie is all about the lead pair of Son Ye-Jin and Jung Woo-Sung. Their faces extending as canvases on which their characters paint with different emotions, resulting in nothing less than a renaissance. Son Ye-Jin’s face is like pale porcelain, radiating with elegance, and when it cracks, the sound resonates in your heart, mind and soul long after the movie ends. Jung Woo-Sung’s face is scruffy, hiding behind it all the mystery and pain, and when he clean shaves it, the ache in his heart and mind scream in your psyche.
If you have watched enough love stories, you will spot the multi amalgamation points of different movies. You will find traces of ‘Love Story’, ‘50 First Dates’ and ‘The Notebook’. But you disregard them all. All because of the emotions on the character’s faces in the extremely close shots mirror yours, because, you see the physical and emotional breakdown of characters in those medium shots as you find yourself breaking down and wiping the first traces of wetness off your cheeks. And these images play like a bass note to the treble note of aerial and long shots of beautiful breath taking scenery.
Written by Yeong-ha Kim and John H. Lee (who also is the director). And as far as this movie is concerned, take my word and do NOT watch it with your other half. Watch it alone, with a box of tissues for company and hope that your story plays like this one and ends with a happy ending.