At long last something happens to Kyeong-soo that leaves me feeling somewhat sympathetic to his situation. He ends up getting confronted by Soon-jin's sister Hee-jin (played by Shin So-yul) and their mother Geum-soon (played by Sung Byung-sook). Remember all that toxic clingy behavior Kyeong-soo has been engaging with in regards to his ex-wife? Apparently Hee-jin and Geum-soon are of the opinion that Kyeong-soo is actually not being clingy enough.
Hee-jin's attitude is especially surprising since she's happily married to Choong-geol (played by Kim Ki-bang). Although maybe it shouldn't be. The scenes these two have together usually just involve them expressing sincere love to each other. I keep halfway expecting that one or both of them are hiding some sort of horrible secret to maximize drama. But there isn't even the slightest hint of any negative aspect to their relationship.
Hence why Hee-jin is convinced that Soon-jin needs a man to be happy. And besides, subjectively speaking Hee-jin isn't really wrong. Soo-jin's quality of life took a terrible dive after her divorce, which was entirely Kyeong-soo's fault. From Hee-jin's perspective anyway. The implication we've gotten is that the death of their daughter was what set into motion the chain of events (namely the affair with Ji-min) that ultimately destroyed the marriage.
But then, let's take this attitude and apply it to the man Soon-jin actually has right now- Moo-han. While it's true that Moo-han's presence has improved the quality of Soon-jin's life, this is mainly because their interactions give Soon-jin a reprieve from her otherwise meaningless and pathetic existence. The revelation that Soon-jin had debts, and now has to take a bad job since she can't be a flight attendant anymore...well, actually, as far as Soon-jin is concerned, this is just more of the universe playing a cosmic joke on her.
It's ironic then, if appropriate, that Moo-han is the one who brings nihilism into every minor daily interaction. Soon-jin's just trying to squeeze whatever little high out of life she can. In spite of everything, I suspect Soon-jin still feels that throwing I-deun into the lake was a good decision. Yet it's Moo-han who attacks I-deun in far more existentially brutal ways, with his constant reminders of mortality and the futility of trying to make up for lost time. There is at least some evidence that Moo-han doesn't believe his own bleak worldview. I-deun's improbable gambit with the door actually works.
Review by William Schwartz
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Staff writer. Has been writing articles for HanCinema since 2012, having lived in South Korea since 2011. Started out in Gyeongju, then to Daegu, then to Ansan, then to Yeongju, then to Seoul, lived on the road for HanCinema's travel diaries series in the summer of 2016, and is currently settled in Anyang. Has good tips for utilizing South Korea's public bus system. William Schwartz can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org.
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