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Try to Remember - Movie Poster
Original Title:
Woo-ri Ma-nan Jeok Iss-na-yo

South Korea 2009

Romance, Drama

Lim Jin-pyeong

Park Jae-jeong
Yoon So-yi
Jeong Man-sik
Ma Dong-seok
Han Joo-yeong
Lee Jae-goo

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Try to Remember

Story: Eun-gyo (Park Jae-jeong) tries his hand at being a photographer, but it doesn't look too well for him financially. Then his girlfriend breaks up with him as well, because she has met someone she can marry. Standing at Eun-gyo's side, though, is his friend Seung-hwan (Ma Dong-seok) who may be a playboy but can find him a new job in Andong. There he is supposed to work at an university. Eun-gyo can rent a room in the quiet town at "General" Park's (Jeong Man-sik) place. He also meets Park's daughter, In-woo (Yoon So-yi), who works at the same university as him. Eun-gyo feels comfortable near In-woo and the two get to know each other better. At the same time the strange dreams of Eun-gyo, in which he sees two lovers during the Joseon period, become more frequent. The man's feelings for In-woo become stronger but he is still too attached to his ex-girlfriend so that it just takes one call for him to visit Seoul. In-woo isn't happy about that as her interest in the photographer has grown, too.

Review: Independent dramas from Korea had something special about them at the beginning of this millennium. Even just looking at the at first glance unspectacular, but somehow beautiful composition of the pictures made you realize that there is an extraordinary romantic story waiting for you. "Try to Remember" takes the same line of nostalgia and promises to be an honest little romantic drama. And a drama it is because we know from the very beginning that In-woo is sick. Strangely enough, you never fear that the movie might degenerate into a hospital drama. And in fact it doesn't, but sadly the love story can't score anywhere. From the second half onwards the movie is only staying on safe ground and is simply tiresome in its predictability.

Try to Remember - Film Screenshot 11

It's predictable in so many ways. There is an odd resolution in which we realize the connection between In-woo and Eun-gyo, then there is also the love story during the Joseon period, which is supposed to create a parallel story line to the present, and at the very end everything gets reduced to a strange mix, which makes you wonder what exactly happened here really. You can't seriously expect us to swallow that much nonsense! Can you? It's almost as if there were taken the twists out of ten tearjerker dramas and put into "Try to Remember" in an absolutely chaotic manner. Despite that the movie can't move you at all. And that's a good thing because otherwise the love story would have become even more corny.

Try to Remember - Film Screenshot 12

There is one stupid twist after another pestering the viewer and driving the movie completely against the wall. However, at first everything looks pretty good. The story told in quiet pictures sketches a looming relationship between two people in a realistic and honest fashion, thus actually creating interest in it. Our expectation that something particular, extraordinary or touching will happen creates a certain tension that is apparent until the very disillusioning finale, even when it already dawns on us that there will probably be nothing more but hot air to be found here after all. Reason for that is a cozy atmosphere and a narrative pace that follows its own rules and thus promises to present us a satisfying trip through a romance.

The actually slightly blurry pictures are convincing most of the time, but sometimes, especially during the numerous close-up shots, they remind us too much of television productions concerning their color palette. Still, big question marks will pop up over your head not when it comes to the pictures but to the story. What is the story during the Joseon period supposed to achieve in the film? Someone heard of the finding of several love letters from a wife in the grave of her husband and thought that you certainly could make a good love story out of it. But then this story was transferred to the present - at least to Andong, the place where the tomb has been found. Yet, there is no real connection between the two narrative story lines. Maybe apart from the fact that In-woo and Eun-gyo are thus supposed to have already lived in the past as well. Yeah, isn't that cute... Nah, it's not.

Try to Remember - Film Screenshot 13

The characters are pretty nice, but particularly concerning the supporting characters, which acting-wise are the movie's forte, the question ultimately arises what purpose they serve in the movie. The disillusioning answer: None at all. But they are still a lot more likeable than In-woo, played by Yoon So-yi, who after "Shadowless Sword" and "Arahan" played only in drama shows and thus has her disappointing movie comeback here. Park Jae-jeong ("I Am Sam") is admittedly more interesting, but it just doesn't click between the two protagonists. "Try to Remember" still would have had what it takes to become a maybe unspectacular but warm romantic flick if it weren't for the truely ridiculous finale during which all possible heavy artillery was brought out to bomb the movie completely into oblivion.

(Author: Manfred Selzer)
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