MOVIE DRAMA CLUB: Very Ordinary Couple
Sage: "There's an 82% percent chance a couple that breaks up will get back together. Out of that only 3% will stay together and 97% will break up again for the same reasons they broke up in the first place." How will this Very Ordinary Couple end? Join Janice, myself, and Wendilynn as we completely debunk the K-drama myth that Korean couples are perfect.
We separated this post into three parts: The Breakup, The Reconciliation, and How the couple ends up (I don't want to ruin it for those who don't want to know how it ends yet). This is the very first Movie Drama Club on DramaFever. Enjoy!
Young and Dong Hee have decided that they are better off without each other, but it’s not that easy.
Sage: This movie sure does know how to make an impression. I’ve never been in a relationship this intense before, neither have I seen a relationship this intense in a kdrama. At first I was confused with the way that it was filmed, then I was highly intrigued. The characters had so much emotion and depth in their stories that it kind of blew my mind.
Janice: Me, too. I was surprised by the narrative style. With the characters talking directly to the camera, like a reality series confession, it brought us closer to the characters, emphasizing the common ordinariness of this story. I think the characters are more relatable this way. I could see some of my friends’ relationships in the way Dong Hee and Young interacted with each other.
Wendilynn: I was at first excited about the documentary-style they opened with, only they didn’t really stay with it. It just sort of came and went as they needed exposition.
Sage: Funny thing, Wendilynn, I didn’t even know it was going to be documentary-style. It was a nice surprise, so to speak. Who comes up with the idea to do a couples documentary around those that work in a bank anyways?
First rule in immature breakups: torture the other person as much as humanly possible.
Sage: When I first started this movie I kind of expected it to kind of continue down this path of petty revenge, but after this, it kind of just stopped there as did the humor. The romance aspect in the romcom stayed tried and true, but in a very realistic, heartfelt sort of way. Not what I was expecting but not terrible either.
Janice: I fully expected Very Ordinary Couple to be a romantic comedy so I was thoroughly amused with the first half, especially when Young sent Dong Hee’s computer back to him and made him pay for the delivery charge. I understand that feeling so it was a little gratifying to watch a fictional character do something I've had the impulse to do but would never do in real life! I was a little disappointed when the comedy dropped out in the last half of the movie but, as Sage said, it turned into a very realistic couple story so it was still enjoyable to watch.
Wendilynn: I don’t really like petty selfishness. I’m not that way, so I don’t really enjoy watching self-destructive behavior like this. Yes, the smashed up laptop was a funny touch, but they just kept torturing each other and doing petty things that just kept the harshness going. You can’t get over anyone staying that bitter all the time. I had a difficult time watching this first part.
Facebook-stalking your ex: Always good for your emotional self-esteem.
Sage: So… was he cheating on her before they split? The way this was filmed had me a little confused. How much time has passed since Hyo Sun and Dong Hee first met? They’re already in love? And I was given the impression that he said it first and some time before she said it back. Can you say rebound? I wish that they would’ve touched on the passed time a little better so that when Young still finds herself wanting to know what’s happening in Dong Hee’s love life it doesn’t seem unjustified. But I guess that’s the nature of their relationship.
Janice: I think Dong Hee started dating Hyo Sun after he and Young broke up but I was shocked by how fast Dong Hee said “I love you” to Hyo Sun too. My theory is that instead of dealing with his breakup with Young, Dong Hee jumped right into another relationship to avoid it. Rebound is right, Sage!
Wendilynn: No, he started dating the little girl a few months after the breakup. Young finds out because she decided to facebook-stalk Dong Hee. I was given the impression that 3 to 6 months had passed by this point. It's pretty common in male-thinking to get over a girl by starting up with another one.
Time has passed and other relationships are blowing up at the office. This makes Dong Hee reflect on whether love can still be true even if it leads to such heartbreak.
Sage: Dong Hee showed a lot of sincerity in this scene. At first, you wouldn’t think that he knew much about relationships and “love” given the way that he acted with Young after they broke up so this was a pleasant scene to watch. It’s like when you argue with somebody and then go back over everything you said and suddenly get very embarrassed that you would even say something like that.
Janice: I think this scene was a turning point for Dong Hee. The retaliation between him and Young have gotten a little ridiculous and witnessing his co-worker’s marriage break up makes him reflect on his relationship and actions. We finally see Dong Hee maturing and realizing that he wants to honor the love that he shared with Young instead of destroying it, so he gives Young the $3,000 that she asked for, even though it was an absurd request.
Wendilynn: I agree that this was a turning point for Dong Hee. He loved her and meant it, so why try destroying each other just because its now over? Personally, I’m always surprised by people who think that going nuts in public is a good idea.
Maturity starts to take hold of our couple as apologies are given and the petty bickering stops. Both are dating others.
Sage: It was funny that after this scene he was like “Did she really need to say that?”. It’s like everything she did was going to bother him even though they are no longer together. Even while I was watching that I knew their “truce” wasn’t going to last very long.
Janice: When Young gives the $3,000 back to Dong Hee, I was like, “Yes, Young is finally letting Dong Hee go! Now they can both stop torturing each other!” Their bickering was their unwillingness to let the other go, so Young giving the $3,000 back to Dong Hee was an act of closure on her part. Except, now Dong Hee is jealous that Young is dating someone else.
Wendilynn: They are both growing up and moving on...or at least calling a cease fire to meddling with each other's lives. I think most guys have a little bit of jealousy when a past girlfriend gets her first boyfriend. It’s that whole alpha dog thing.
Young has an office one night stand and pictures were taken and passed around. Dong Hee takes exception to someone he cared for being used in such a way. This leads to Dong Hee and Young admitting they still care about each other and maybe they should give it another try.
Sage: I don’t know why but I really enjoy it when exes get jealous. Like in Emergency Couple. I loved jealous Chang Min. Though I must say, Dong Hee took it a step further and was a little hot tempered. I’m surprised he was not more severely reprimanded after this. I am a little curious as to what type of pictures he took. Chief Min said that they were not what she thought when he apologized. What’s that supposed to mean?
Janice: Gosh, I knew this was coming! That Dong Hee’s jealousy would make him do something he would be embarrassed about. Though, I would say that Chief Min deserved it for taking pictures of Young without her consent. This scene actually had me enraged because Chief Sohn said Young deserved it. I totally disagree!! No person deserves to have his or her picture taken naked without permission.
Wendilynn: Not only taken without permission but then shared. Slimeball. I’m shocked as can be that any of them still had their job after all this. All that zaniness that went on at that bank was like a zoo. They are lucky they still have jobs. It was sort of sweet that they decided to really talk and face that they still cared after this big blow up.
Getting married quickly after a reconciliation is like trying to save a bad marriage by having a baby.
Sage: Want to get his attention during the game? Pop the question. I do not personally think that Dong Hee and Young should get married and obviously they didn’t either given the fact this didn’t go any further than asking this question. I was super surprised when he said yes-- which proves that though they never actually said the words that they loved each other. This was obviously a desperate measure to keep their relationship spicy a measure a lot of couples tend to make.
Janice: Mwah haha, I love the look on Dong Hee’s face when Young proposes marriage. I was expecting him to avoid the topic so I was pleasantly surprised when Dong Hee said yes.
Wendilynn: The look on his face was hilarious. I have to admit, I was not expecting him to say yes. But I think this was a sign of him not wanting to upset Young and saying yes even though he clearly wasn’t ready for it.
Dong Hee and Young have fallen back into their old habits. Only now they have the stress of not wanting to upset each other, so they aren’t as honest with each other as they should be.
Sage: They kept their feelings bottled up in order to keep their relationship not knowing that by doing that they were ruining it. With this couple I was glad to see that they weren’t just hanging on to one another because they didn’t want to see the other with somebody else (though that was part of it) but rather because they actually loved each other and they wanted to try and make it work.
Janice: This part was so painful to watch. Young and Dong Hee were tiptoeing around each other so much, and suppressing all their annoyances with each other, instead of communicating, that it was like waiting for a ticking time-bomb to explode. So much angst!
Wendilynn: If you are going to try again, you HAVE to be dead honest and talk about what worked and what didn’t. You can’t just ignore what was wrong in the first place. They also jumped into bed right away. Always a mistake. No matter how good the sex is, it will not mask problems.
Finally some honesty. They have just lived the "day that didn’t happen" that led to their first breakup. Tired of hiding their feelings from each, they finally come clean about how they feel and why it won’t work out.
Sage: They both did their best though in the beginning they weren’t willing to say that to one another because that would mean admitting defeat in their eyes. I liked this scene, it was honest and very heartfelt . The whole time they were together I realized that it was only so because they wanted to remember why they had broken up in the first place and they did. Young wasn’t sure if he ever really loved her, Dong Hee felt like she was selfish and only thinking of herself in their relationship. It seems as though this couple does not fit into that 3%, which is realistic and fits for this couple.
Janice: This scene was touching for me. It was gratifying to see Young and Dong Hee step back and acknowledge each other’s part in their relationship, how they both tried their best instead of thinking that they each gave more than the other.
Wendilynn: What I love best about this movie is that there is no bad guy and no good guy. There is no blaming either sex for problems. Both have made mistakes and both have tried to fix them. They have both failed and both learned.
Life and Love are like roller coasters. If you don’t like the excitement, go ride the merry-go-round.
Sage: As Chanyeol in Roommate would say, “I feel as though I have matured from this. Yeah.” I don’t know how ordinary that relationship was. Normal, yes. Ordinary? Not so much. But I am glad they were able to break up without wanting to throw something at the other. Not a lot of couples can do that, and I find those are the couples that end up back together just so that they can end up at the point that these two did.
Janice: I do think this movie depicted a normal, ordinary relationship. Isn't this what dating is like? We might not steal money from our ex-girlfriend's bank desk to mess up her accounting, but we make mistakes in relationships over and over again until we acknowledge them, learn from them, and try not to repeat them in the next round. The roller coaster is such an apt metaphor for this couple's love story: after all the ups and downs, they realize they're right back where they started, though this time, they break up amicably. And it's bittersweet.
Wendilynn: You know, I didn’t really see them as an ordinary couple because of all the over the top pettiness. I changed my opinion when we got to the end because they were able to see that they both had made mistakes and they just were not able to fix what was wrong. Instead of taking strips out of each others hides again, they were able to part as friends. I really liked that part. This couple started out very immature and ended in a healthier, more mature frame of mind. Its an interesting ride for the viewer to go on.
The risks of love are like buying a lottery ticket. Whether we win or not, we can learn a lot about ourselves by just buying the ticket. Much time has passed for our couple. They live their own lives and meet up again, will they be just friends or will there be more?
Sage: I personally think that these two would be better as friends. They can’t keep forgetting why they broke up in the first (or second place), that would be ridiculous. I liked the way it ended, with them as friends going to test their luck again. They are rather courageous, these two.
All in all I enjoyed this movie though it was nothing like I would’ve expected. It was very realistic and came from both viewpoints of a very normal couple. It wasn’t funny. And it wasn’t romantic in the traditional way. It was a story about a couple breaking up the right way.
Janice: I like that the ending was ambiguous though the way Young asks Dong Hee about getting a lotto ticket makes me think that the two of them are going to try again. And, because they’ve learned their faults the first time around, maybe this time, it’ll actually work.
I enjoyed this movie for what it was, a realistic depiction of a young couple learning their way around a relationship. The acting was superb and the writing was spot on. I think this movie would appeal to people who loved Lost In Translation.
Wendilynn: I found this movie uncomfortable to watch in the first half just because I don’t like watching insane pettiness, but I was able to enjoy the message of the movie in the second half. I will probably never watch this again, but that is more due to the subject matter. The actors did a great job with their characters.
What did you think of this rather normal couple? Was this your kind of movie or were you rather surprised of how it turned out like I was? What was your favorite scene? What was your least favorite scene? Should Dong Hee and Young remain friends or should they try out their love one last time? Tells us your thoughts in the comment section below!
Watch Very Ordinary Couple:
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Movie Specs:is director Roh Deok's feature film debut. Roh was also the screenwriter and based the screenplay on her own love life and those of her friends. The film did well at the South Korean box office when it was released in 2013, and actress Kim Min Hee was noted for her acting. This was reflected in the multiple award nominations for director Roh Deok and Kim Min Hee during the 2013 award season. The movie won:
- Best Film Actress, 49th Baeksang Arts Awards
- Best Feature Film, Asian New Talent Award, 16th Shanghai International Film Festival