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Unforgettable - Movie Poster
Original Title:
Sun-jeong

South Korea 2016

Genre:
Drama, Romance

Director:
Lee Eun-hee

Cast:
Do Kyeong-soo
Kim So-hyeon
Yeon Joon-seok
Lee David
Joo Da-yeong
Park Yong-woo
Park Hae-joon
Lee Dae-yeon
Hwang Yeong-hee
Kim Ji-ho
Lee Beom-soo


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Unforgettable

Unforgettable - Film Screenshot 1

aka Pure Love

Story: Hyeong-joon (Park Yong-woo) is a radio DJ. One day he gets a letter from Soo-ok, who he hasn't seen for ages. In his thoughts he travels back in time. During their summer vacation in 1991 quiet boy Beom-sil (Do Kyeong-soo), marathon runner San-dol (Yeon Joon-seok), funny guy Gae-deok (Lee David) and tomboy Gil-ja (Joo Da-yeong) return to their home town on an island to spend their summer days with their good friend Soo-ok (Kim So-hyeon). Soo-ok can't go to school in Seoul because she is ill and limps. Her friends are used to carry her wherever they want to fool around and have some fun in their free time. Beom-sil has feelings for the girl, but it seems that she is interested in a soon-to-be physician who promises her surgery that would make her walk like anybody else. Full of hope she and her friends spend a memorable summer, stealing a boat in order to get to a near island, participate in a singing contest while Soo-ok also continues chasing her dream of one day becoming a radio DJ. But then fate deals a heavy blow to the five friends which changes everything.

Unforgettable - Film Screenshot 2 Unforgettable - Film Screenshot 3
Unforgettable - Film Screenshot 4

Review: Strange... Reviews for "Unforgettable" haven't been that great, although the film was generally well received by audiences, and looking at it from an objective angle I have to agree with all the flaws pointed out, which I will go into myself a bit later on. And yet this romantic flick stands as a nice trip full of nostalgia into the past of five teenagers whose "Pure Love" for one another makes them friends for life. The fact that this sort-of romantic flick, in which heart beats a subtly implemented love story, gets melodramatic and even a bit dark concerning its tragedy isn't a surprise, though. First, we don't expect any different from most Korean movies; second, the movie is predictable in other respects as well, meaning that we can't really blame the director for suddenly breaking with the film's tone.

Unforgettable - Film Screenshot 5

The movie probably resonated quite well with me because the teenagers have grown up in the 90s, a decade I spent most of my childhood in as well. But when taking a closer look there isn't really that much, except from MCs and a song by Aha, that links to this decade. Of course, life on an island is nothing most of us can identify with. So maybe it's simply the feeling of nostalgia in general, which gives the movie some extra good will? After all, on a positive note it needs to be pointed out that the chemistry between the friends is just right. They don't do anything extraordinary, maybe temporarily stealing a boat that belongs to the brother or mother of one of them, but apart from that there are no fantastic or dangerous adventures they embark on. We just get a glance on the everyday life of five friends.

Unforgettable - Film Screenshot 6

A life during their summer vacation, during which they can just unwind. It's interesting that the chemistry and interaction between the friends is so lively and engaging despite the characters being rather mediocre developed. This especially concerns Beom-sil, who is played by Do Kyeong-soo ("Cart"), member of boygroup Exo. Most of the time Beom-sil has a stoic expression on his face, although sometimes something like fear, anger or desperation are mixed in as well. It's not easy to pinpoint, though. Kim So-hyeon ("Man of Vendatta") plays the limping girl and like the rest of the cast she doesn't display any extraordinary acting talent, yet delivers a solid performance. The rest of the characters have only little that they are allowed to show on screen.

Unforgettable - Film Screenshot 7

The scenery is very nice, the fishing village has an unique appeal to it and you almost believe to feel the salty ocean breeze. Furthermore, we also are introduced to some traditions or superstition of the fisherman along the way. Along with the well captured pictures this creates a nice atmosphere. Unfortunately, it soon becomes apparent that the story hasn't a lot to offer. The story forming the framework is actually not present at all, only every now and then there is a cut to the face of one of the protagonists' faces branded by sadness and ageing. When finally something is happening female director Lee Eun-hee needs to face the question if she really believed to win everyone over with the twist in her debut work. After all, it seems rather far-fetched and one single lie leads to consequences which we can't truely believe with the thinly written characters involved.

Unforgettable - Film Screenshot 8 Unforgettable - Film Screenshot 9

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Naturally, tears are flowing for a while after that. Confessions are made and so on. Fortunately, those tear-filled moments manage to be touching and director Lee most of the time avoids any kitsch. However, in the end the story's tragedy is spread over too much of the ending giving it several levels of agony, just like it is typical for many Korean dramas that are not able to find an end. The fact that everything may become a bit depressing after the twist isn't really bothersome, in my opinion. You don't expect any different with a movie like "Forgettable" and some viewers are even looking for an opportunity to finally be able to shed a few tears. Director Lee manages to achieve exactly that with her picture and she scores with a nice dynamic between the five friends and a fine setting as well as a pleasant feeling of nostalgia. For some this should be enough to call "Unforgettable" a good movie, but for some it may not...

(Author: Manfred Selzer)
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