You know, half of the reason I even joined MoviePilot was to finally make reviews for the various dramas I watch (As my YouTube channel just isn't a good fit); I'm a handful of posts in and haven't even written of one! So let's take a step together with My Girl and I. Spoilers inbound, sorta.
My Girl and I is a 1.5 hour Korean drama by iLove Cinema that tells the heartwarming story of Su-eun (Hye-kyo Song) and Su-ho (Tae-hyun Cha), two high school students that couldn't be any more different while still being so obviously destined to fall in love.
The story kicks off with Su-ho's high school reunion; his classmates are under the assumption that he won't show because the reunion was set on the same day of a girl's death anniversary. When Su-ho surprises them with his arrival the group travels to a lighthouse, where one of his friends begs Su-eun to finally set him free so his friend could move on.
Isn't that how it always goes?
Flash back to Su-ho on the verge of drowning due to a cramp; who else to rescue him but the pretty girl in his class named Su-eun? When she approaches him in the hallway later on to insist he buys her a croquette at lunch, a romance ignites that surprises not only the school (Because this guy is the very definition of an Average Joe) but themselves.
Now, I want to start off by saying that this movie is definitely not for everyone. I say this because the pacing of the story follows the creed of "Slow and steady wins the race." There are some parts that kind of seem to drag on or feel unnecessary until they play into the later parts of the story.
To give you a frame of reference, think of Eternal Sunshine on the Spotless Mind: slower scenes with little to no background noise, but the movie builds over time. To some it can produce a stale atmosphere, to others it doesn't. While I'm patient enough to wait and observe, I know that the general population of today's movie watchers tend to have only the time for fast-paced films that cater to the short attention span.
Beyond that, though, this is a film that will strike a chord to anyone susceptible to sad love stories. These are realistic characters being portrayed by actors that truly bring them to life - they don't feel like creations that were written up on paper, but actual people.
Part of that has to do with the pacing of the movie, as you aren't constantly being jerked around from dramatic incident to dramatic incident, but primarily has to do with how the characters were created. These aren't very complex characters - in fact, they're pretty simple. Su-eun is quick to anger, but finds it easy to trust patient and loyal Su-ho. They're two transparent teenagers that give each other nicknames and express their distaste for fish heads because it looks as if they're being angrily stared at.
I know it sounds like they're super boring (There's a reason my profile title is 'Not So Graceful'), but their simplicity is what makes them so easy to relate to. Real teenagers don't have steaming heaps of problems that just lay on top of each other one after another. Real people don't spend 5 seasons hiding their feelings for no good reason. Sure, we have a few issues that impact us in some way but you know what I'm talking about.
Maybe that's why this story hurt so much.
If you know Asian dramas you know that love stories typically follow one of the following routes: They live happily ever after once they overcome the struggles of their path to romance (i.e. Boys Over Flowers), or someone gets sick and dies (ex. Koizora). Considering how the movie starts out, I'll let you guess how this goes.
As you watch, you know that this is a story that's just a little too perfect. A little too sweet. With that in mind, though, you still find yourself swept up in the innocent romance as the couple takes a trip to a flowery island and sings together in the rain. With the intermittent flashbacks of Su-ho's grandfather's first love (Which was an amazingly written subplot that reminds you that he's still there, and isn't just a side character) you seemingly find yourself thinking that these two are indestructible.
So when blood trickles from Se-eun's nose just before she collapses, you feel your heart sink as you are smacked in the face with the reality of things. The opening rushes back to you. She tells him that she only has anemia but you know that she's lying to spare his feelings just a little while longer.
And that's why I rated this movie so highly, when I normally would have poked fun at the cliches of the opposites attracting or an illness taking a loved one away. The way that this movie was written and paced felt like it was a real love story that came to life; you feel for these characters and you grow to care for them, even if only temporarily.
Happy unbirthday, and I will see you later.