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Original Title:
Baram-pigi joheun nal

South Korea 2007

Romance, Comedy

Jang Mun-il

Kim Hye-su
Yun Jin-seo
Lee Jong-hyeok
Lee Min-gi
Jeong Eun-pyo
Oh Yun-hong
Park Sang-Myeon

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A Good Day to Have an Affair

aka A Day for an Affair

Story: 37-year old housewife with the chatname Dewdrop (Kim Hye-su) makes the acquaintance of a young student (Lee Min-gi). The married woman isn't happy with how life goes for her, decides to meet with the young man and start an affair with him. At the same hotel in which the two get a room, "Tweetie" (Yun Jin-seo) and her chatroom friend (Lee Jeong-hyeok) also meet for some privacy. "Tweetie" is a young, married woman, who looks for a man with whom she can talk. However, her new friend is more focused on getting into bed with her. The four meet in the corridor a few times without really taking notice of each other, until Dewdrop gets surprised by her husband and the police at the hotel. Another problem is that one of the policeman involved is Tweetie's husband. Luckily, Tweetie doesn't get discovered. Because of some coincidences Dewdrop and Tweetie meet again and the two woman get closer as they share the same kind of sorrow.

Review: "A Good Day to Have an Affair" is a fast-paced, funny movie, that doesn't fit into the category of so many other Korean romantic comedies. On the other hand the movie also presents itself a bit as a drama, whereas it's not as pretentious as many other movies of that kind are. Here, the filmmakers don't clumsily hit you with moral messages, but instead we get some relationships that unfold in a natural and entertaining manner. There is a certain lightheartedness running through "A Good Day to Have an Affair" and that's very refreshing for the viewer, even the more as director Jang Mun-il actually hasn't got the intention of imbueing his work with some sort of morale maxim or message. Yet, there are enough motives and problems the movie addresses in a well-done way, which deliver some material to think about for a few minutes. But that's not what Jang is aiming for primarily, and so you can just simply spend almost two hours of entertainment with this romantic comedy of a different nature as well.

A Good Day to Have an Affair - Film Screenshot 11

The actual driving force of the movie is Kim Hye-su ("Hypnotized", "The Red Shoes"), who delivers an especially well-done performance as the housewife still young at heart. Life with her husband isn't fulfilling and she even feels lonely at his side. An affair seems to be a good solution and she also seems to be on the same wavelength with the student she meets, even if the whole relationship always seems to remain somewhat shallow. Yet, she finally can behave the way she wants and when she is eating at an university's canteen with the student she summarizes her inner feelings and desires when she says that she wants to study again.
The meetings at the hotel and the bed stories are very funny because of their natural silliness and Lee Min-gi plays the role of the insecure young man quite convincingly, so that Kim Hye-su always wears the pants in the relationship.

A Good Day to Have an Affair - Film Screenshot 12

The relationship between Tweetie and her new acquaintance is getting the same amount of time as the other story which is a fact the filmmakers deserve some credit for, as there is a balanced switching between the two stories, while there always seems to be some kind of connection apparent between them, even if it's just the same hotel at which the two couples rent a room, or some fleeting chance meetings in the elevator or on the parking lot.
Yun Jin-seo ("All for Love") plays her part of the shy, young married wife well, too, she hopes to find something else in her new relationship than her partner, which is why latter is oftentimes left behind very frustrated after having tried to do everything possible to make Jin-seo sleep with him. As a man you must pity him, because the constant evasion and interruptions on Tweetie's part when her new boyfriend wants to go to bed with her, clearly are no small aspect of the film's humor. The worst women, as her friend summarizes, are those that give you the feeling that they want it, too, but then back out all of a sudden. Tweetie just wants to talk, however, her parner, tough, isn't good when it comes to talking as it is the case with most men. He just doesn't know what to say. Still, Tweetie isn't naive, she knows that her friend, as it is with all men, just wants that one thing and she expresses that with a naturalness, that may be containing disappointment since she thought her new "boyfriend" might be different, but there is also an understanding that this is just the way men work.

Nevertheless, as time progresses it's strangely Tweetie, who wants to get into bed with her boyfriend, so that we have to ask ourselves if she actually fell in love with this man. Naturally, this all leads to some more dramatic scenes, which, nonetheless, have no negative influence on the good pacing, and which also don't feel forced.
Technically, "A Good Day to Have an Affair" is well presented as well. Apart from a Wong Kar-Wai hommage in a hotel corridor, there is especially a slow motion scene in the streets that will stick to you, when Tweetie is fighting against strong wind and leaves getting blown in her face. A scene in which all of her pain and inner suffering is portrayed in an aesthetically profound way, something you normally don't get to see in a romantic comedy. Moreover, there might be hidden a hint at the original title of the movie. Which is "A Good Day to...", and now it gets difficult as "Baram-pigi" literally means "smoking wind", yet is an ideom which means "cheat on one's partner" or "have an affair". Why? Well, when you cheat you are so fast when it comes to getting back home to your spouse that even the wind starts to smoke, that is in the sense of a dust cloud - like in the cartoons. Makes sense, doesn't it?

A Good Day to Have an Affair - Film Screenshot 13

It would have been nice if we had seen more of the two women's actual married life as this is one aspect that doesn't get the necessary on-screen time, but apart from that there isn't much to criticize, provided that you don't expect anything extraordinary. "A Good Day to Have an Affair" draws its strength from the fact that it doesn't try to be something special, but instead just wants to depict the theme of solitariness of two individuals in an entertaining way. The humor surely isn't neglected and the ending doesn't lose its natural tone of lightheartedness and this even though there is enough drama involved. "A Good Day to Have an Affair", as a few more revealing, but modestly used scenes are proof of, is a film for adults and no dumb teenager comedy. Still, this doesn't mean that there is no funny nonsense to be found. In the end you just get a very entertaining movie, that makes two hours make fly by like nothing, and moreover also has a little bit of profoundness to it. Nice!

(Author: Manfred Selzer)
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