AsianMovieWeb logo
Very Ordinary Couple - Movie Poster
Original Title:
Yeon-ae-eui on-do

South Korea 2013

Romance, Drama, Comedy

Roh Deok

Lee Min-ki
Kim Min-hee
Ra Mi-ran
Kim Kang-hyeon
Choi Moo-seong
Ha Yeon-soo

Search AsianMovieWeb

Very Ordinary Couple

Story: Lee Dong-hee (Lee Min-ki) and Jang Young (Kim Min-hee) are employees at the same bank. No one knows that the two have been a couple for a while already until they break up. Their encounters with each other after that are everything but pleasant and their colleagues have to experience this as well. However, neither of the two can pinpoint what actually led to their relationship falling apart. After a few arguments the two want to give it another try. But the same problems arise again. Dong-hee shows outbursts of fury and Young undermines the bond of trust between them by telling little lies in order to protect the relationship. Trust issues aren't the only things in the relationship that become unbearable. Boredom creeping in is a problem as well as is the fact that the two don't know where they exactly want to see their relationship in the future and whether they have the same goals or not after all. The more Dong-hee and Young try to avoid arguments and the kind of problems that led to their break-up the first time the more disappointment and anger towards the partner starts to build up...

Review: There will without a doubt be viewers that will be disappointed by "Very Ordinary Couple". However, for me the movie actually turned out to be a nice surprise. The reason for that is that a very ordinary relationship (hence the title) is portrayed here - with all the ups and downs involved, especially the downs. When it comes to rom-coms you should expect to be served with forgettable, colorful fluff. In my opinion, this is more strenuous than anything else, because the perfect world in which love prevails no matter what isn't just corny to look at, but is also - that much truth needs to be said - far from reality. "Very Ordinary Couple" surely is a romantic comedy, but it is also a realistic drama about a relationship and that's where the movie scores especially well.

Very Ordinary Couple - Film Screenshot 11

The relationship of the couple is surprisingly complex and yet very simple in its core. Both of them do not know what they really want, what kind of expectations they are allowed to have of their partner and how much effort they need to put into the relationship without forcing something that just shouldn't be. There are constant arguments between the two and in the end neither of them can say what they were actually about. There is an all-apparent discontent rooted in the two, because the thought that there should be more in a relationship than what they have keeps the two occupied. The obvious thing to do would be breaking up. But there is also love, which as we all know works outside the realms of logic, playing a part in this relationship drama. Can a couple that came together after a break-up really dream of having a future together?

Very Ordinary Couple - Film Screenshot 12

Yes, the couple is a pretty ordinary one, but their story is told in such a detailed manner that you are instantly enthralled by it. It's not just the dialogues that are realistic, but also the subplots. There is adultery involved and families fall apart. Reading this you could assume that there is a constant need of handkerchiefs. But "Very Ordinary Couple" refrains from artificial tearjerking. The movie's realism also bestows a pleasant bittersweet note upon it. The story could head in any direction and that's what's making it so enthralling next to the excellent elaboration of the characters. The intensity of many scenes is unusually high for a movie of the romantic comedy genre and that's mostly thanks to the two actors.

None of the two characters is simply likeable. Lee Min-ki ("Spellbound", "Quick") depicts a young man who particularly later on puts a lot of effort into saving the relationship, but he time and again has temperamental outbursts. Kim Min-hee ("Helpless", "Moby Dick") on the other hand embodies a young woman who too often looks at things only from her perspective and believes that she sacrifices herself the most in the relationship. The acting achievement of both is outstandingly strong. You instantly learn to accept their rough edges and also don't expect that they could just get rid of them for someone else. This would also deprive the story of any credibility. Female director Roh Deo also did a very fine job with her debut work when it comes to the screenplay.

Very Ordinary Couple - Film Screenshot 13

At first everything shouts out romantic comedy, but soon it becomes clear that many of the shots also feature a certain gloominess and dreariness, also because of a more reserved coloring which doesn't take us into a candy-tree land. Even though there is humor shining through in the movie at all times - for example the story is also told through the use of small interviews since a documentary is shot during the movie - many scenes are surprisingly sad and create a feeling of loneliness. That "Very Ordinary Couple" manages to create this kind of heartache and even tries to do so is very commendable. Thankfully, there is no room here for a blissful love story with its mandatory problems that inevitably lead to a happy ending. Ultimately, this movie manages to touch you deeper than you would expect thanks to its honest way of looking at love.

(Author: Manfred Selzer)
Buy this movie:

Very Ordinary Couple - Yesasia Yesasia Logo