Il Mare (2000) reviewed by Wai Lu Yin

Director: Lee Hyeon Seung
Casts: Lee Jung Jae and Gianna Jun
Genre: Melodrama and Romance
Running Time: 94 minutes
Certi: 12 (South Korea)

‘Il Mare’ means ‘The Sea’ in Italian. In 1998, architect Sung Hyun (Lee Jung Jae) moves into the house, ‘Il Mare’ which is at the seaside. One day, he finds a letter from the mailbox. The letter is sent from a letter from a young woman, Eun Joo (Gianna Jun) in the year 2000. They realized both of them live there two years apart in time and they can communicate through the mailbox. Eun Joo starts writing regularly to Sung Hyun. Since it turns out things go well, she decides to ask Sung Hyun to find her cassette recorder, which she lost at a train station. Sung Hyun goes and find it. Then, he sees the beautiful Eun Joo in the year 1998. Thus, both of them try to communicate so that they will be together forever and protect each other from dangers ahead. This film was remade into a Hollywood film titled ‘The Lake House’.

It is one of my favourite classic love films that blow my mind away emotionally. Simple yet touching scenes are shown between Sung Hyun and Eun Joo. Every single word in letters which are exchanged among them touches not only their hearts but audiences, like me, too. Both of them develop their relationship even closer just through letters. In addition to that, they share their problems and advices in love and happiness. I can feel the sense of connection from the both of them as they spend time alone with their daily lives. The scenario that put a smile on my face is when they exchange suggestions on how their date should be on their own time period.

Even though there are sub plots for these two characters (Sung Hyun’s relationship with his father and Eun Joo’s breakup), the director brings it back to the main plot which the main focus is the closeness between Sung Hyun and Eun Joo. The storyline itself goes smoothly, which makes me hope that they will meet together at the same time period. There’s a climax to it: (1) metaphor of gloves floating away and the dream house, designed by Sung Hyun, by the beach and (2) Eun Joo realizes that Sung Hyun will be in a car accident and she rushes to send the letter to him by mailbox. That makes my heart races in hoping that he’ll get to see the letter. As she cries and a sad song is playing, I feel her pain and my heart feels heavy. Then again, I thought that will be the end for the both of them not seeing each other. However, there’s a twist to it. Sung Hyun actually found the letter. In 2000, he meets Eun Joo and they live happily ever after.

As for the setting, the sceneries are breathtaking. You have the house by the sea. You see the wonders of natural settings at Jeju Island. You see the beautiful sunset by the sea and beach. It makes me want to go there on a holiday or, even better, having a house by the sea or the beach. The songs matches well with the plots as it captivates my heart while I feel the connection about how both Sung Hyun and Eun Joo are portrayed. Notice that the last song at the end of the film. That is one of my favourites in this film. Thus, the director did a good job of having both settings and songs to match the storyline well in this film. For fans who love some classical and a little bits of magical love, I would recommend that you guys should watch this. Hey, even I imagine myself exchanging love letters to through the magical mailbox. One more thing, you will find a puppy, Cola, who is very adorably cute.

Rating: 9/10

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