MOVIE CLUB REVIEW: Always (Only You) starring So Ji Sub
Who watched Always this past weekend? Did the romance knock your socks off? Are you exploding with feels and need to let it all out? Come join Pamela and I as we discuss Always in DramaFever's second edition of the Movie Club!
FIRST IMPRESSIONS: Thumbs up or down?
Pamela: I’d say thumbs up. The introduction of the main couple made sense, and we got to see where Jang Chul Min was at when he met her and where he had to grow. The movie had been on my list since before I even watched my first Kmovie and my first Kdrama, and it did not disappoint.
Janice: I agree! I really liked this movie and was riveted the entire time. I was pretty impressed with the acting on So Ji Sub’s part and I enjoyed that the backstory of Chul Min and Jung Hwa’s characters, while tragic, didn’t cast a grey pall over the story in a draggy way. As an aside, I laughed when Jang Chul Min introduced himself as Marcelino to Han Jung Hwa when she asked him his name.
Pamela: On my end, I enjoyed the scene early on in the relationship during which Jang Chul Min and Han Jung Hwa were watching a drama together. When she asked him to describe the female character, he described what he saw her as, and even though it was early, it demonstrated the pull he felt towards her. The early scenes, although a build to the love and the violence, were probably some of the most engaging early scenes I’ve seen so far in a movie. It was like an instant gratification, even though the movie had more to give as it continued. Also, there was the scene of So Ji Sub working out, but that’s not so much a favorite scene as much as an always-welcomed eye-candy scene.
Janice: Haha! YES, that was very much appreciated. I loved the early scenes too! They illustrated the small moments between Chul Min and Jung Hwa that were sweet and cute. I remember laughing at the sneaker scene. When Jung Hwa asks Chul Min to open the windows because her nose is very sensitive and was able to tell that he’d been to the gym, it was so funny and endearing the way Chul Min stuffed his feet back in his sneakers and then went out to scrub his feet to try and get the odor out. It was cute witnessing how self-conscious he felt about that, even buying a new pair of shoes afterwards to make Jung Hwa more comfortable.
Janice: I also loved the scene towards the middle when Chul Min leaves the apartment to go train, looks back at Jung Hwa, and runs back up the stairs to hug her some more. I could feel how much Chul Min loved Jung Hwa and how much she brightened up his life. Actually, I loved the whole montage, from Chul Min fixing up Jung Hwa’s apartment to telling his boxing buddy to cut his eye to let the blood out because Jung Hwa would be upset at how swollen his face got during the fight. The amount of smiling that Chul Min does during these scenes made me so giddy for him! This whole section was about these two people in love and it made my heart happy to watch.
Pamela: When Chul Min brought Jung Hwa into the bedroom and lets her feel the love he put into the room with the window, there was a nice tenderness in there, too. Although he was training hard for her during that montage, and he was putting a lot of effort into making the apartment comfortable for her, he still made their time together sweet and touching. Speaking of touching, the graceful and soft caressing Jung Hwa gave to Chul Min was another lovely element. Chul was rough in what he did for her, but what he did with her was peaceful and full of adoration.
Janice: You are completely right with that last sentiment! Describes this movie so well!
FAVORITE SCENES WITH FEELS
Pamela: For most of the movie, the scenes were leading us to the sacrifices Chul Min has to make in order for Jung Hwa to be able to see and to live to her fullest capabilities. Basically, once he started to make that turn, I started to get a little squirmy. The scene that involves him getting injured during his attempt to complete the Thailand job and the scene in the hospital when Jung Hwa sees Chul Min but doesn’t recognize him were two of the scenes that had me in a pout. The former had me clenching my Tigger Pillow Pet for dear feels. They felt both quick, but still drawn out to a satisfying extent, like a lot of weight and emotions were in the characters’ minds and in the air.
Janice: Gosh, the FEELS. There were so many. While this movie had plenty of small and sweet moments, it was definitely not a light movie. There were so many scenes that made my little heart wrench. Like you said, Pamela, the fight in Thailand was very cringe-worthy. I had to close my eyes a few times, especially when Tae Sik had thugs rob Chul Min of his diamonds and then stab him multiple times in the back, I was so afraid that he would be paralyzed.
Pamela: Oh my gosh-freaking feels, I thought he was going to become paralyzed, too! *mental tear*
Janice: I know, right?! The entire time, I was like NO NO NO, Chul Min can’t be paralyzed after all he went through to pay for the operation that gives Jung Hwa back her sight. I was really glad that it didn’t turn out that way.
Another feel-worthy moment for me was a couple of years later in the timeline when Jung Hwa, after not recognizing Chul Min in the hospital, realizes that the man on the crutch is the same man she fell in love with when she was blind and she runs back out into the street to look for him and breaks down crying when she can’t find him. I just felt her heartache so much in that moment.
Pamela: Later, when she found him in the field they had been at together before, I was scared - partially for the turtle, but mostly for Chul Min. He couldn’t even get out the words that he may have wanted to say to her. I don’t know if he was injured even further during the stabbing (his head did hit the pavement fairly hard) or if he was just unable to speak for psychological reasons or if Jung Hwa’s warm, caring face just left him unable to say anything. Jung Hwa cried the emotions that she’d been missing for two years back at him, and Chul Min just looked at her for the last section of the movie with longing tears in his eyes. Her chasing after him and his gazing made the last few minutes full of emotions.
Janice: I have to give credit to the actors, So Ji Sub and Han Hyo Joo, for delivering wonderful performances. I thought their acting was spot on, especially So Ji Sub. His characterization was extremely powerful: he embodied his downtrodden life so well that I truly believed he was an ex-boxer who regretted his past and was trying to make up for it. The guilt that Chul Min feels for having unknowingly caused Jung Hwa’s blindness was palpable across the screen, and when the movie flashes back to his days as a thug, the fierceness in Chul Min’s eyes were enough to translate how much of a bad guy he was before he went to prison. I think I’ve become a So Ji Sub fan from this movie!
Pamela: I’ve seen one of his dramas (The Master’s Sun) and one of his other films (A Company Man), and I’ve grown to admire his acting style. So Ji Sub lets the emotions be felt in a sort of silent way. The writing takes care of his characterization to an extent, but it’s his subtlety and the air of hidden angst in his face that made Janice-unni’s statement true from my perspective, too. He doesn’t overplay the emotions, but he plays them just enough so that we can understand the pain of his character.
Janice: I haven’t watched any of So Ji Sub’s dramas before but now I am definitely going to start The Master’s Sun!
Pamela: I have not seen any of Han Hyo Joo’s dramas or her other films, and she certainly deserves my attention now. The actors and the filmmakers made this a very enjoyable film for us!
What did you all think of Always? Which scenes gave you the most feels? What were your favorite scenes? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below!
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