An inspired mainstream rom-com?
In Love Fiction, an unsuccessful writer falls in love with a total stranger, thinking he’s found his muse, his inspiration. A basic starting point, you think?
A WRITER’S PERSPECTIVE
The surprise comes mostly from the approach, as the film exclusively focuses on the writer’s point of view to show the evolution of this romantic relationship. More than showing a man’s perspective on love, the film actually takes into consideration the fact is a writer, using his imaginary to reveal his deep reflections and personal hopes on love and life.
An interesting way to reveal how he completely idealizes his girlfriend at the beginning, learns to know her better—and her 98 ‘points’—, to discover her flaws—the armpits… All these elements will influence his own work, as he will use them to write his ‘hairy’ story. And eventually through this process, he’ll have to confront his own contradictions/fears too.
A STORY WITHIN…
How does the film manage to express these ideas? First of all, it extensively uses a voice-over, with the character telling almost everything he thinks. Secondly, his hopes and questions are expressed through his own imaginary—it takes the form of a detective story, respecting most of the genre codes, in terms of lightening, framing, and the post-sync sound just like the old (Korean) movies. Finally, the film includes discussions between the writer and his subconscious—his mentor, who looks like a middle-aged man. and makes some provoking comments.
Of course, the film doesn’t forget the comedy part, revealing the most funny aspect of this approach—the writer is literally imaging things in his mind, he’s having arguments with his subconscious, how he can be such hypocritical with the girlfriend… The film also creates embarrassing situations—the joke about the poo, the love declaration in front of the drunken colleagues.
No need to underline the jokes, the comedy appears clearly in the moment, while benefiting from the performances of the main actors—Ha Jung-woo is both pathetic & dull, which can be surprising if you only know the guy from his roles in thrillers, such as The Murderer or Nameless Gangster.
But at the same time, the story has several monotonous/overlong parts, repeating over and over the same ideas-the film within the film—and visually, the inspiration tends to vanish—the reality is static, which is an interesting idea, but this overall flatness can become boring. —Average.
AKA Leobeu Pikseon, 러브픽션