Romance Joe (2011)

Director: Lee Kwang Kuk
Casts: Kim Young Pil, Shin Dong Mi, Jo Han Cheol, Lee Da Wit, Lee Chae Eun, and Ryoo Ui Hyun
Genre: Romance and Arthouse
Running Time: 115 minutes
Certi: 15 (South Korea)

When a film director (Jo Han Cheol) is frustrated over writing a script for his next project, the coffee shop waitress (Shin Dong Mi) promises a good story if she’s paid the night. One day, she knocked on the wrong door. Romance Joe (Kim Young Pil) was committing suicide. Then, she hears the story about his first love in high school. Finally, Romance Joe decides to live again and visits his hometown to retrace his memories.

While watching this film, I put all the pieces together and come to my overall understanding. Basically, every single character knows each other and they have similar story. It’s just that the plots are all jumble up. It can be confusing but while you think about it, everything has something in common. All I could think of is that Romance Joe’s first love is the coffee shop waitress. Then, the little boy is the coffee shop waitress whom she doesn’t know. Next, you see the guy with the married couple looks like they know Romance Joe. All of them are hearing and sharing the similar childhood story.

My favourite part of this film is Romance Joe’s childhood story. It’s sweet, funny, and loving when the young Romance Joe and his first love are together. In addition to that, he wrote a script which is related to their first kiss at the boat. I find this interesting because when it comes to writing a script or a story, an idea or an inspiration comes through our daily lives and experiences. However, I find Romance Joe a bit complicated because he left his first love in the motel and never come back but can’t stop thinking about her. For this, I find it confusing.

What’s even more confusing is towards the end of the film. I got a question mark above my head. When Romance Joe visits the village, he meets the little boy and policeman who tells him that he’s not existed in the real world. Next, we see a rabbit hopping through the woods and that’s the end of the film. What’s my expression? A confused one. The question is whether Romance Joe is a real character or a fantasy character that doesn’t exist in the world at all. Also, is the story fiction or based on true story from the characters’ point of view?

There is a link among the characters who share the same story but the ending causes me to figure out if it’s reality or fantasy.

Rating: 6/10

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