When Romance Meets Destiny

Two brothers strain in different ways to find fulfilling relationships with women in "When Romance Meets Destiny," a heartfelt romcom-cum-meller from South Korea. Laffs give way to sentiment, but the story maintains a delicate momentum. Released last November to hunky biz, pic is likely to have commercial appeal in other Asian territories.

With:
With: Kim Ju-hyeok, Bong Tae-gyu, Lee Yo-weon, Kim Ah-jung, Jeong Gyeong-ho, Kim Hyeong-min, Kim Il-ung, Lee Dae-yeon.

Two brothers strain in different ways to find fulfilling relationships with women in “When Romance Meets Destiny,” a heartfelt romcom-cum-meller from South Korea. Laffs give way to sentiment — and oddities like having the film’s main title appearing halfway through — but the story maintains a delicate momentum. Released last November to hunky biz (2 million-plus admissions), this effort from helmer Kim Hyeon-seok (“YMCA Baseball”) is likely to have commercial appeal in other Asian territories.

Roughly divided into three equal parts, film kicks off with the decade-long inability of mild-mannered photographer Gwang-shik (Kim Ju-hyeok) to express his love for high-school sweetheart Yun-gyeong (Lee Yo-weon). When Yun-gyeong is ready to make her affections plain, Gwang-shik’s drunken brother, Gwang-tae (Bong Tae-gyu), accidentally foils their romantic progress. Second chapter discloses Gwang-tae has little problem bedding babes, but his pursuit of sexy and intellectual marathon runner Gyeong-jae (Kim Ah-jung) reveals he’s emotionally stunted. Final section blends the two strands. Helming is inventive and astute, though the script lags slightly as meller elements gain ascendancy. Performances all ring true, and tech package is up to the usual Korean high standard.

When Romance Meets Destiny

South Korea

Production: An MK Pictures production. (International sales: MK, Seoul.) Produced by Shim Jae-myeong, Lee Woo-jeong. Executive producers, Lee Eun, Choi Jin-hwa. Directed, written by Kim Hyeon-seok.

Crew: Camera (color), Choi Jin-ung; editor, Shin Min-gyeong; music, Lee Byeong-hun; art director, Jeong Eun-yeong; costume designer, Ham Hyeon-ju. Reviewed at Hong Kong Filmart, March 21, 2006. Korean, Italian dialogue. Running time: 105 MIN.

With: With: Kim Ju-hyeok, Bong Tae-gyu, Lee Yo-weon, Kim Ah-jung, Jeong Gyeong-ho, Kim Hyeong-min, Kim Il-ung, Lee Dae-yeon.

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