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Original Title:
S Diary

South Korea 2004

Drama, Romance, Comedy

Kwon Jong-kwan

Kim Seon-a
Lee Hyeon-woo
Kim Su-ro
Yu Kong
Na Mun-hee
Kim Kwang-il

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S Diary

Story: Jini (Kim Seon-a) gets dumped by her boyfriend. He tells her that he just can't stand being with her anymore. He advises her to check if her former boyfriends did really love her at all.
Being hurt and confused Jini goes through her old diarys in order to relive her old memories. She visits her first boyfriend Gu-hyeon (Lee Hyeon-woo) who meanwhile has become a priest. He confesses that it was just temptation of flesh which made him interested in her. From her second boyfriend Jeong-seok (Kim Su-ro), a police officer, she gets a similar, not that complimenting statement. Her third boyfriend Yoo-in (Yu Kong) even assumes that Jini did return to him, because she just wanted to see his "great body" again.
Down and angry, Jini starts to scheme some unconventional plans to take vengeance on her ex-boyfriends.

Review: "S Diary" is not the kind of movie the DVD-Cover promises. Neither does lead actress Kim Seon-a look that good in the movie nor is this a happy-life comedy. Actually, there are some jokes, yet they are somewhat hidden most of the time and only serve the purpose to loosen up the atmosphere. Basically, the movie has a pretty serious undertone. You could also say that the film sometimes feels a little bit gloomy. Which is mainly because of the greyish colors.

The story isn't very original and easily told. Nonetheless at least the narration can score some points. With the use of Jini's old diarys we are catapulted back into the past and relive the old love storys of our female protagonist. It's interesting that the movie has a little turning point after the first half, because now it's all about Jini's vengeance on her ex-boyfriends. However, this is a little bit abrupt and proves to be rather disturbing.

While Jini's ex-boyfriends have some interesting personalitys, even though they sometimes act a bit like stereotypes, the lead Jini of all people is incredibly shallow. This is nearly the movie's deathblow, because Jini's character is very colorless and without any motivation. This being so makes it very hard for the viewer to sympathize with her, especially since everything is about Jini and her relationships. If this is only Kim Seon-a's fault or not is hard to tell, but at least in "Greatest Expectations" she managed to give a better performance than here. Why the script writers would have to cut down on her character will never be resolved, however.

Nevertheless, along with Jini's unconventional vengeance plans, there are also some funny scenes. Finally, the film starts to make fun even if it oftentimes is right below the belt.
Jini's mother in her own way is also responsible for some chuckles. In the end the movie again drifts into pensive and serious realms, which is quite some positive aspect as the movie doesn't work towards an appeasing and cheesy ending.

"S Diary" is a romantic comedy with a little bit of drama, which isn't implemented in the movie that bad. The message "S Diary" wants to convey is that every relationship has its upsides and most of all rememberable moments that two lovers will share forever. A nice message that one can only consent to, but...

...Unfortunately, the movie fails to provide us with a reference person, someone who can actually sell this message to us. Jini almost remains a blank page and thus "S Diary" can't keep up the viewer's interest. That the ending makes up for it a little bit just isn't enough.
The movie has its moments. Yet, even if it actually has a message - which is pretty rare in Korean romantic comedys and nearly something special - it just doesn't change the fact that the movie can't surpass its own mediocrity.

(Author: Manfred Selzer)
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