AsianMovieWeb logo
Original Title:

South Korea 2007

Drama, Romance

Park Dae-yeong

Lee Cheon-hee
Han Ji-hye
Jeong Jae-jin
Park Choong-seon
Kim Cheol-heung
Kim Soo-hyeon
Jeong Won-kyeong
Kim Kyeong-ho
Park Geun-soo
Son Eun-seo
Choo Seon-mi
Lee Hwi-hyang
Lee Jeong-heon
Lee Min-ki
Kim Hae-in
Chae Yoon-seo

Search AsianMovieWeb


Story: Joon-seo (Lee Cheon-hee) is together with his girlfriend Mi-yeon (Han Ji-hye) for six years already, but their relationship is more and more becoming a burden for him. Eventually, he wants to dump his girlfriend, but she doesn't understand the signs Joon-seo is sending, so that he even goes that far to apply for a research project at the South Pole just to get rid of Mi-yeon. However, shortly after his application Mi-yeon is hit by a car and from that day on braindead. Joon-seo can't believe the news, especially since he was just talking to her the morning after her accident. When he visits Mi-yeon in the hospital, he realizes that there has to be a doppelganger of Mi-yeon, who appears before Joon-seo in dreamlike scenes. During his research he finds out, though, that there have also been other person's seeing a quite healthy looking Mi-yeon. While Joon-seo is trying to solve this mystery, he remembers the beginning of his romance with Mi-yeon and realizes that he is still in love with her...

Review: "Humming" is a good example of a tear-jerking, at times rather cheesy, yet well-produced melodrama, which most likely won't stay on your mind for too long, yet manages to trigger some emotions as a nice evening drama. It's obvious from the very start that this is a commercial tearjerking movie, an impression also intensified by the alienating addition at the end of the film. Even though this results in many of your standard flaws, like overdone emotions and two-dimensional characters, this doesn't mean that "Humming" can't be convincing in its own way at times. The dilemma the movie is dealing with is the well-known question why we only learn to appreaciate what we have, when it's gone. Furthermore, the filmmakers also want to talk about how love can change as time goes by, and what it means to love someone more than you are loved by that person. The last aspects the movie touches only slightly and so the sad certainty remains that "Humming" could have been more, if the director had dealt with these aspects in a more profound way.

We are thrown into the movie when the relationship between Mi-yeon and Joon-seo goes down the drain. Only Mi-yeon doesn't seem to understand that for whatever reasons. Yet, she can soon win our hearts, namely with her loveable nature and the way she works for the relationship to grow, as well as the several paper chase tasks she makes her boyfriend do at his place every time she can. Mostly it's thanks to Han Ji-hye's wonderful charisma that the viewer takes her to his heart. She's just adorable and the more we see of her, the more frustrating are those scenes in which she isn't on screen. For the most part this is also because of the fact that she almost single-handedly manages to give the love relationship a foundation. Lee Cheon-hee, who is playing Joon-seo, isn't convincing all the way through and most of the time is occupied with suddenly bursting into tears, even though he just was the one wanting to break it off with his girlfriend a few moments before.

After her accident Mi-yeon reemerges somehow, though. But how is that possible? Could it be that this is an image of her soul? At the end, Joon-seo seems to believe in that, which is also the reason for him to look for her soul, as he thinks that he needs to find it in order to bring it back to her body, nonetheless, there are also some other stange supernatural explanations, that deal with different parallel universes, yet it remains unanswered why they are brought into the picture. Seemingly, this has something to do with the stuff Joon-seo is researching, but what exactly this is we never get to know. Those who hope for a satisfying resolution at the end will get disappointed, because except of a very cheesy meeting between the two lovers, which to make things worse is dragging on and on, there is nothing that would give the movie a final touch. Moreover, "Humming" uses too much melodrama at the end and also inserts an artificial climax which is easily looked through by the viewer, and therefore only causes an annoyed eye rolling on our part.

The beginning is also not very compelling. It takes a while until we are drawn into the movie. Until then our interest is only aroused by Mi-yeon and her faithful love for her boyfriend. From the middle part onwards, however, we get to see the film's strength, when we are taken into the past of the couple via several flashbacks, and get some insight into the first steps of their relationship, whereas we also are served with some scenes that couldn't be more typical for a commencing love story, including sweet as honey (or cheesy, you choose) interjections like Joon-seo who records "I love you" on tape for his girlfriend, because she said, that she would like nothing more than to hear these words over and over again. What might sound like incredible cheesiness when reading these lines, actually works out better than you might expect. It's interesting, too, that initially Joon-seo is the one who had fallen in love with Mi-yeon, also loving her more than he was loved by her, which as we know should change for the opposite later on.

What's making it so easy to dive into the movie are its polished visuals, that technically lift the movie on the nowadays common artificial high level. The content can't keep up with that, as too much schmaltz in overdrawn form has found its way to the screen. Joon-seo's crying excesses just get annoying at some point and aren't really appealing. Furthermore, we just would have wanted to get more background information about the two main characters. Han Ji-hye can make up for it with her charisma, so that some might even argue, that it would have been just enough to make her appear on screen in seemingly random scenes, and the film still would have become ok.
But despite all the criticism "Humming" succeeds in conveying the bittersweet feeling of love and sadness in a decent romantic drama, even though it surely wasn't enough to create anything special, which we start to realize when the credits roll.

(Author: Manfred Selzer)
Buy this movie:

Yesasia Logo