AsianMovieWeb logo
Original Title:

South Korea 2005


Oh Seok-geun

Jeon Mi-seon
Jang Hyeon-seong
Kim Ji-sook
Yoon Da-kyeong
Oh Yoon-hong
Jeong In-gi
Seo Jin-won

Search AsianMovieWeb

Love is a Crazy Thing

Story: Eo-jin (Jeon Mi-seon) is married and has two kids. Her husband has put his family in debt and love is something that Eo-jin doesn't feel for him anymore for a long time already. In order to get by, Eo-jin talks with certain men on the phone who simply want to talk about their problems or expect telephone sex for a fee. One day she meets Mrs. Kim (Kim Ji-sook) who leads an escort service and asks her if she doesn't want to work for her. Eo-jin eventually agrees and can also muster up the courage to finally break up with her husband. However, to just go drinking with her customers at a karaoke bar or to spend the night with them are two completely different things as she has to find out. She struggles quite some time before she is willing to go the final step but eventually Cha Min-su (Jang Hyeon-seong) becomes her first real customer and she even builds up a bond of friendship towards him. After all, she even believes to have fallen in love with him. Nonetheless, she soon finds out that such feelings can only lead to disappointment in this business.

Review: "Love is a Crazy Thing" is one of those films that are misleading concerning the expection it creates because of its title and DVD cover. This is no sugar-coated romantic flick we are presented with but in fact a serious drama that has only one problem: It's not really inventive. In one way or the other we have heard of that story before and in the end the movie even doesn't refrain from working in certain clichés as well. Only the drugs are missing. Why is that? Well, you can't expect from every director to illuminate the subject of prostitution in such an original and provocative way as let's say Kim Ki-duk in his "Samaritan Girl", so there isn't much left to do than to portray violence against women, despair and struggling to somehow conserve a certain kind of inner innocence. But when all is said and done the drama doesn't leave us with any new findings. That doesn't mean on the other hand that "Love is a Crazy Thing" is absolutely not worth watching. In fact, the drama is easily accessable which is mainly thanks to the good actors.

Jeon Mi-seon, who has already had numerous small roles in movies like "Christmas in August" or "Memories of Murder", proves that she can also shoulder a movie all by herself. And she does so most of the time. If she hadn't given her character the necessary depth, which the script doesn't draw in a satisfying way on all occasions, the film could have easily become completely trivial. Thanks to Jeon Mi-seon we actually are interested in the fate of this mother and former housewife who has married her husband at an early age and has loaden debt and misfortune on herself by doing so. Only her children provide her with the strength to go on. Strangely, she shares only little time with them on the screen which doesn't really make her mommy of the year, especially not when she stays out all night for her job. This even goes so far that there is a little side story implemented in which Eo-jin's friend who has trouble getting pregnant wants to adopt one of Eo-jin's two sons. She looks after them most of the time anyway which is also why Eo-jin develops a certain kind of jealousy.

Eo-jin has come in contact with her new profession in a strange way, but most likely there isn't a typical story how you become an escort lady. It takes Eo-jin a long time until she is ready to spend the night with a man for the first time and then it's also with someone who gives her the feeling of being loved and wants to have her as a friend. He treats her well and requests her over and over again so that she eventually starts to develop feelings towards him. Something that's not such a good idea in this business. As an amateur at her job Eo-jin can't give her customers the feeling, yet, that they are being loved without actually having feelings for them. She is too much herself and hasn't put up a protecting barrier around her inner feelings. That this is fatal and somewhere along the way has to lead to disappointment is obvious. Jang Hyeon-seong plays her lover - which is also the movie's original title - and manages in the short time he is given to depict a somewhat cold but at first sympathetic character as well who feels lonely, but then again maybe isn't that serious with his feelings for Eo-jin either.

Eo-jin's colleagues serve certain clichés which don't make the movie stand out from others of the genre. However, what "Love is a Crazy Thing" does succeed in is to make the viewer feel interested in the events on screen during the first hour because we want to know more about the characters and the circumstances under which they live. Kim Ji-sook can reward the viewer as the tough, oftentimes cold boss who yet always is on her girls' side when it gets serious. When her past catches up to her we get to see one extremely violent scene in which director Oh Seok-geun unyieldingly captures how she becomes the victim of brutal abuse. With this Oh also shows that escort ladies are nothing more than whores, which is also how they are called by their costumers when they somehow start to play hard to get. Here a more differentiated picture would have been nice, but maybe there isn't one? Eo-jin, however, always manages to win over the audience's sympathy. We don't despise her for what she does.

The pictures of the movie show the simple life of Eo-jin to the colourfully illuminated streets of the city and of course we also enter numerous karaoke bars on several occasions so that we also get to hear one or two songs from Mi-seon. That these are melancholic love songs supposed to push the movie's drama into the foreground a little bit more isn't surprising. Really moving or even dramatic isn't something you could call "Love is a Crazy Thing" in the end, though. The movie simply offers an interesting but not that genuine view on the life of a mother who has a little bit different profession than most others. The moral scrupulosity that goes hand in hand with this profession is dealt with on a pleasently subtle level, but it remains to be pointed out that director Oh doesn't know at the end where he wants to go with his story. This is also evident in the ending that consists of several stages, whereas every single one of them makes us expect that the credits will roll soon. Therefore, the movie's biggest flaw is that the drama lacks a real message. Nonetheless, because of Jeon Mi-seon's efforts the movie is still worthwhile.

(Author: Manfred Selzer)
Buy this movie:

Yesasia Logo