Film Review: A Moment to Remember (Nae Meorisogui Jiugae)

A Moment To Rember - Son Ye-jin and Jung Woo-sung
   When Hollywood has finally plowed through the entire collected works of Nicholas Sparks, the resident producers of Tinsletown could do much worse than adapting A Moment to Remember for Western audiences. A virtually peerless tragic romance, the Korean film shows us that love is not necessarily about happy endings but the sacrifices we are willing to make, and the patience we are willing to give, to try and make the impossible real.

   Lee Jae-han's remarkably vivid and emotional romantic drama manages to fit neatly into the criteria of many of the most beloved young adult tear-jerkers produced by Western movie-makers of the last twenty years. Somehow, perhaps via magic alchemy, A Moment to Remember also attains the dazzling feat of transcending the melodramatic base of many Hollywood love stories and retaining an authentic heart too.

   Su-jin (Son Ye-jin) and Chul-soo (Jung Woo-sung) meet by accident and, from this moment of serendipity, their hearts are eternally bound to one another. Like many romances, their social status should keep them apart - she a fashion designer, he a construction site worker - but it becomes apparent that much bigger hurdles will have to be overcome for love to blossom.

   Forgetfulness creeps up on Su-jin to the point of danger - a house fire is caused by her not remembering to turn a stove off. A trip to the doctor confirms the worst - at the age of just 27, Su-jin is beginning to develop Alzheimer's disease (The Korean title of this film Nae Meorisohiu Jiugae literally translates as "Eraser in my Head"). Soon, the world begins to make little sense to our heroine - aside a fading lucidity, Su-jin experiences denial, anger and, ultimately, an unimaginable sorrow as the couple realise that one day she will have no recollections of who Chul-soo is. We've seen love grow from the smallest seed and we will see it wither in front of our eyes - winter has arrived tragically early. Yet, there are no conditions that can be attached to the human heart when it beats at its most powerful; Chul-soo may not be able to fight the battle in Su-jin's mind, but he can sure as hell change the world around her.

   A Moment to Remember boasts a brace of exceptional performances from it's leads, two of the most expressive and graceful actors in Korean cinema. Son Ye-jin's enchanting face constantly communicates her complex and baffling internal story, the battle to understand what is happening around her and the sorrow caused by her confusion. If a picture is worth a thousand words, each frame of Son's puzzled features are filled with countless emotions; her physical performance is one of the most in-depth committed to screen to date. Astonishingly, in moments where lucidity returns, Son, as Su-jin, radiates love and hope through the pools of water in her eyes. Jung, meanwhile, compliments Son's powerhouse performance with an understated turn full of stoic resilience and patience. Whilst Chul-soo may have a task as impossible as King Canute halting the tides, Jung makes certain that we, the audience, see flickers of hope and even joy at the time he spends with his ill-wife to counterbalance the over-riding feeling of infinite melancholy - he desires, in his soul, that love can transcend something as fickle and finite as memory and perhaps that's the one thought that gives him strength.

    Gentle, tender, generous of spirit and mournful. A Moment to Remember is a triumph of artistic vision and a triumph of love.
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1 comment

  1. i remember when 1 time watching .. a strong feeling ) thanks you

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