Sunday, August 3, 2014

Movie Review: Late Blossom (2011)

Romantic movies are a dime in a dozen in the movie world. Romantic movies involving the elderly however is not. Which is why the 2011 romantic movie Late Blossom about two elderly couples is such a breath of fresh air among the saccharine love stories that floats about.

Kim Man-suk (Lee Soon-jae) is the grumpy old man who delivers milk early in the morning. He meets Song I-ppun (Yoon So-jung) who has to make by with collecting paper in her cart. After several encounters with her, Man-suk starts to feel something for I-ppun. On the other hand, Jang Kun-bong (Song Jae-ho), the manager of a car park, has been married to Jo Soon-yi (Kim Soo-mi) for several decades. Their children now live away and they become only a couple once more. Soon-yi suffers from Alzheimer's disease and Kun-bong is there to take care of his wife.

I have a confession. I a sucker for old people still in love. It just melts my jaded heart. Actually I remember watching a local movie about a president and his wife (if you're Indonesian, you'll know), and the one scene that made me cry was the scene when some random old couple was walking down the street hand in hand. I know I'm weird. But I think it's the fantasy that love can last for years and years that gets me every time.

Directed by Choo Chang-min, who recently directed the Lee Byung-hun-lead Masquerade, Late Blossom is a story about love in old age. It's two versions of love. One is the aforementioned happily-ever-after love, while the other is the hopeful love. Kun-bong and Soon-yi is what the forever-after fantasy looks like. When Soon-yi went missing, Kun-bong was running around the neighborhood searching for her despite his aching body. Even I-ppun agrees that these two are what anyone would call ideal; staying by each other's side when they no longer look like that pretty boy or girl down the street.

Man-suk and I-ppun's story on the other hand is a lot more like the typical meet cute romance. Two lonely souls, one is a widower and the other was left by an abusive husband, meet each other and fall in love despite all odds. Their story includes awkward glances, heartfelt confessions, and adorable jealousies. Close your eyes and Man-suk and I-ppun are just two teenage lovers once again.

But of course being that the two couples are in old age, sickness and death is breathing too closely down their necks. The characters don't shy away from talking about it either. While the overall tone of the movie is bright and hopeful, this topic brings the story back on the ground and into reality.

Between the two love stories, I was definitely more invested in Kun-bong and Soon-yi's story. I actually wanted to know more about them. I mean Man-suk and I-ppun are cute, but Kun-bong and Soon-yi are complex. Given the history this couple has, on top of Soon-yi's medical condition, they're a couple that's bound to hurt. It doesn't help that Song Jae-ho has those droopy loving eyes that makes you want to hug him forever and ever. Just thinking about it makes me want to cry.

Apparently age was an issue when making this movie. Investors were quite hesitant because the movie deals with old people, an age group that probably doesn't go out to the theaters in the first place. Thankfully the indie movie was able to pay back its initial budget plus eight times more. I think the love story really got to them.

If you're a sucker for sweet romance, I recommend this movie through and through. It's so heartwarming, it bursts my heart into tiny butterflies escaping through the windows of my sobbing face. Make sure you have tissues next to you just in case things get messy. If you've ever wondered what happens after the credit rolls in your favorite romantic movie, this is the one to watch. Now, I need to watch Amour, but I think I need to ready myself for that.

No comments:

Post a Comment