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Original Title:
Seulpeumboda Deo Seulpeun Iyagi

South Korea 2009

Drama, Romance

Won Tae-yeon

Kwon Sang-woo
Lee Bo-young
Lee Beom-su
Jeong Ae-yeon
Lee Han-wi
Sin Hyeon-tak
Lee Seung-chul
Nam Gyoo-ri

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More than Blue

Story: K (Kwon Sang-woo) is the producer of a successful radio show and shares an apartment with Cream (Lee Bo-young), a songwriter, for many years already. The two are orphans since early childhood and have developed more than just a relationship between brother and sister. However, every time when a confession of love is about to be made, K retreats into his shell. He has a got reason to do so, though, because what Cream doesn't know is that he suffers from a fatal form of cancer. He hasn't much time left and therefore wants to protect her from suffering the pain of loss. When Cream seemingly has interest in the rich dentist Cha Ju-hwan (Lee Beom-su), K decides to arrange a marriage between them. Still, getting them together isn't that easy either as Cha is still engaged with the photographer Jenna (Jeong Ae-yeon). K is doing everything in his power to bring Cream and Cha together, but time is running out on him...

Review: "More than Blue" is quality-wise one of the better tearjerkers, which will surely have no problem finding its fans, especially among the female audience members. Still, whether the movie is actually good or not is another question that needs to be answered here. Because even though well-known clichés are utilized only carefully they are still to be found everywhere in the movie. Naturally, this starts with the very fact that K is suffering from a fatal illness. Moreover, it isn't the first time this story is told. "Christmas in August" already had this theme in its center and conveyed it technically a lot more delicate, subtle and emotionally involving. Thus, "More than Blue" can only arouse interest with its polished looks and the actors. Unfortunately, there are some mishaps concerning the characters and to make things worse there is a certain kind of unfocusedness running through the film.

Especially in the beginning the film centers too much around side stories and characters, that actually aren't important for the rest of the movie. The reason for that is that the filmmakers seemingly wanted to create some kind of framework story in which they implemented an embedded narrative. But for what purpose? There is no need for that in fact, and it's even an ungainly choice of narrative for "More than Blue" to be frank.
After all, the movie manages to surprise us with a twist at the end, which some viewers might not have expected in this way. However, if you watch carefully you will know in advance what to anticipate as the behavior of some characters is at times so incomprehensible, that this solution is the only one to come up with. Still, the film has some serious problems when it comes to the side plots, e.g. the story revolving around Jenna which seems futile and also predictable.

Unfortunately, it doesn't get better when it comes to the main characters. Kwon Sang-woo ("Once upon a Time in High School", "Almost Love") delivers a very reserved performance, yet still manages to convey his deep-seated pain buried within and his hidden (or maybe not so hidden) love for Cream to the screen every now and then. Lee Bo-yeong ("Once upon a Time", "A Dirty Carnival") on the other hand needs a lot longer before she can win over the viewer. Somehow you get the feeling that another actress could have done a better job in her place. Her portrayal is too shallow, only towards the end she manages to get things right. Sadly, that's a bit too late, since there are quite some lost opportunities along the way. The chemistry between K and Cream is never that intimate is it was actually intended and this becomes even more apparent as there are some scenes that put just this warmth and familiarness between two friends that know each other inside out in the movie's focus, yet the spark simply can't ignite since there is a serious lack of credibility.

As it is the regular case with tearjerkers the film starts with a more lighthearted tone, even though we know from the very beginning which fate K has to meet in the end. Anyway, we have to ask ourselves over and over again what kind of work K is exactly pursuing. Working as a producer K doesn't seem to do much if anything at all and the same goes for Cream. Apparently, those two have done something right in life, because they have no money problems. Still, you somehow feel a bit cheated as we seemingly get full insight into the private lives of the two protagonists and yet there are certain facts that are withhold from us.
The side characters, more than anyone else Cha and Jenna, were supposed to bring more color into the film, however, especially latter one has only been brought into the movie in order to give K someone who confronts him with his decision not to tell Cream of his condition and instead marry her to someone else. That's a shame, because it would have been nice if the side characters had had a little bit more life to them, too, instead of merely serving as some tools for the plot.

The biggest point of criticism is eradicated by the twist at the end, though. Those who watch the movie will know what I'm talking about. Still, despite that and some nice ideas at the end, the drama never really works the way it should, presenting us with the events we have already seen from a different point of view than that of K, still there remain some artificial colors to it. "More than Blue" has moments that can be moving, but you won't find anything new and it doesn't even make you cry either. A little bit disappointing for a movie which literal translation of the original title would be "sadder than sad".
At the end you won't regret having watched this film, there are some nice moments as already stated, others, however, are rather unoriginal. All in all, "More than Blue" is no enrichment for the genre, but simply another one of those tearjerkers that can offer you a nice evening on your couch.

(Author: Manfred Selzer)
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