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'Dating' Shows It's the Journey That Matters

2005/06/09 | Permalink | Source

By Kim Tae-jong
Staff Reporter

What is the purpose of dating? Is it to satisfy a physical desire, to feel companionship or get married? It's probably quite difficult to find the right answer to this tricky question, but the new film "Rules of Dating (Yonaeui Mokjok)" successfully leads moviegoers to find their own answers.

At first glance, the film, directed by Han Jae-rim, seems like a run-of-the-mill sex comedy. But as the story progresses, it evolves and delves deeper into the true meaning of dating and love.

In the film, high school English teacher Lee Yu-rim (played by Park Hae-il) starts to flirt with student teacher Choi Hong (Kang Hye-jung) when she is dispatched to the school. A few days later, he even asks her to have sex with him directly and he gets more aggressive toward his goal.

Yu-rim has a girlfriend, with whom he has been in a serious relationship for six years. Nevertheless he is cynical about romance and simply thinks that there is no such thing as true love between a man and woman. For him, dating is nothing more than a means of getting physical satisfaction.

Hong also has a boyfriend, a medical doctor whom she intends to marry. But despite its promise of security, she is unhappy and distrustful of the relationship due to the pain and abuse she suffered in a past relationship.

Yu-rim's direct and aggressive approach, however, works to gradually open Hong's mind as she finds unique characteristics in him that are missing from her life.

When Yu-rim learns about her past and tries to heal her pain he realizes what the real goal of dating is. In fact, the two characters learn that there is no one destination that they should reach but the whole procedure of dating is meaningful, giving them a chance to grow from the experience.

The only problem with the character of Yu-rim is that his behavior toward Hong can be seen as sexual violence and is often exaggerated, but the film manages to overcome it thanks to strong performances by the two main actors.

Park, who has played men with a soft image such as a kind and gentle postman in "My Mother, the Mermaid", successfully shows a completely different side while Kang also shows another strong and distinguishing performance like in her previous works "Old Boy" and "Three, Monster".

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