Things about the new Korean movie “Soulmate” that are different from the original work
Here are interesting details about the upcoming movie “Soulmate” starring Kim Da Mi, Jeon So Nee & Byun Woo Seok.
Many of us must have experienced being separated from friends that we used to be very close with. It’s not always because of any big fights. As we grow up, our values also change and one day we naturally lose each other’s contact. That kind of friendship is always in our hearts but we don’t have the courage to resolve the broken parts.
The new movie “Soulmate” depicts that kind of friendship. It tells the story of Mi So and Ha Eun, the two friends who recognized each other from the first time they met, sharing everything, from joy, sadness, excitement, and longing, and becoming true friends.
A fairytale-like first encounter
Ahn Mi So is the new transfer student at an elementary school on Jeju Island. This kid just says her name briefly then runs away from the classroom. Another kid named Go Ha Eun takes Mi So’s bag and follows her friend. After spending a day drawing paintings, taking a bath, and having dinner together, the two become closer. For Ha Eun, who hates carrots, Mi So picks all the carrots to eat. On the other hand, Ha Eun also eats broccoli for Mi So. As memories of the two keep adding up day after day, Mi So and Ha Eun’s friendship grows into a relationship in which they make up for each other’s shortcomings.
Problem that happens even when they cherish each other so much
Even when going to different high schools, Mi So and Hae Eun are still best friends. Receiving a text message from Mi So telling her to skip the late-night study section, Ha Eun leaves her class early without hesitation. As their environments are not the same, they cannot spend as much time with each other as before, but their trust is still strong. It is because they are so close that they sometimes become more cautious and cannot be honest with each other. Cracks in Mi So and Ha Eun’s friendship begin to appear when Jin Woo comes.
Ha Eun falls in love at first sight with Jin Woo after meeting him on a group blind date. Later, Ha Eun gains her courage and shyly confesses her first love. Together with Mi So, the three created great memories of youth. Then, at some point, a subtle atmosphere emerges between Mi So and Jin Woo. The two hide this fact. However, on the day Mi So leaves Jeju, Ha Eun notices their secret as she sees Jin Woo’s necklace on Mi So’s neck.
A film like sparkling glass beads
The first half, which takes place in the refreshing Jeju Island, can be called the standard of youth movies. The emerald-like sea, the deep green forest cave that creates a mysterious feeling, as well as a cozy home and a cute cat. Like a postcard, it contains the nature and quiet atmosphere of Jeju Island. Ha Eun naturally gets on Mi So’s scooter and is guided by Mi So’s hand to get her ears pierced for the first time. In front of the window frame with a clear view of the sea, they have a birthday party by blowing out candles on the cake, and Ha Eun shyly shares her first love with Mi So. Jeju’s natural scenery catches the audience’s eyes, and the untainted friendship between the two makes the audience look forward to the next scene.
The nostalgic details of those born in the 90s also add fun. From the DDR pump where Mi So and Ha Eun show “All Perfect” with perfect harmony, the group blind date where Jin Woo recognized Ha Eun for the first time to the Can More Cafe where Ha Eun boldly confessed her love to Jin Woo, all bring back a lot of memories. On top of that, the popular culture in the late 90s and early 2000s is naturally melted into the movie, including mp3 players with wire earphones and Cyworld minime that subtly reveals inner feelings. In addition, the cat Maru, the cute mascot of the work, cannot be left out. Maru is a cat rescued by Mi So and Ha Eun on a rainy day, and is seen as a symbol of their friendship.
The mood of the work changes from the middle, when the conflict begins in earnest. Ha Eun attended college while Mi So chose to stand alone. In particular, Mi So’s hardships are depicted in detail, making the audience feel stunned. The emptiness, longing and bitterness fill the place where the brilliant youth disappears. The visual tone approaches achromatic color, but the emotional line rather becomes colorful, attracting viewers.
Maze-like second half
“We were good then. Where did it go wrong?” This applies not only to the relationship between Mi So and Ha Eun, but also to the directing. In the second half of “Soulmate”, there are incidents which feel far-fetched. It seems that the director’s intention is to indirectly reveal the emotional changes between the two, but because of that, the main characters’ actions are ambiguous.
It’s a bit disappointing to see the twist that comes out repeatedly. It feels corny because the directing to portray the twist feels clichéd. This makes viewers wonder what it would have been like if 30 minutes of the second half had been removed or developed differently. Although this part is the most important point in the original, there is no need to do the same thing in the remake. In addition, the thick stem of the story has already followed the original. Therefore, there is no need to stick to a similar ending.
“Soulmate” moves forward vigorously until the middle of its run, as it captures the youth of Mi So, Ha Eun, and Jin Woo, but starts to wander little by little from the middle when the conflict begins. The twist and ending borrowed from the original work eventually halves the charm of the movie. In other words, Ha Eun and Mi So are not the only ones who don’t know where to untangle the twisted thread.
Despite these regrets, “Soulmate” has a clear charm. The refreshing scenery of Jeju Island, a wide range of emotions, and the delicate acting of the cast complete the film. Unlike the original work, in which the novel serves as a medium, it is the painting that connects Ha Eun and Mi So. Among the famous lines in “Soulmate”, phrases related to paintings are particularly memorable. “Now I want to draw your face. A painting that cannot even be drawn without love.” Ha Eun and Mi So had great fear because they loved each other so much. The film seems to be whispering to the audience not to make such a mistake.