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ALL ABOUT MY WIFE

May 16, 2019
  • Writerby Pierce Conran
  • View873

2012 | 121 MIN | Comedy, Romance
DIRECTOR MIN Kyu-dong
CAST LIM Soo-jung, LEE Sun-kyun, RYU Seung-ryong
RELEASE DATE May 17, 2012
CONTACT M-Line Distribution
Tel +82 2 796 2427
Fax +82 2 796 2429

On May 17, 2012, a pair of major Korean films opened. One (IM Sang-soo’s The Taste of Money) was the latest work from an auteur which was screening in competition at the Cannes Film Festival, the other was a remake of little-known Argentine romantic comedy from 2008 called A Boyfriend for My Wife. From veteran director MIN Kyu-dong, no stranger to romantic stories, and featuring a trio of very different actors playing larger-than-life characters, it was the latter, All About My Wife, which turned into the hit of the season, ultimately becoming one of the most successful romantic comedies of all time in Korea with 4.6 million admissions.

While separately studying abroad in Japan, Korean students Doo-hyun (LEE Sun-kyun) and Jung-in (LIM Soo-jung) meet by chance during an earthquake. The spark quickly blossoms into a romance and before long a life-long union. However, fast forward seven years and Doo-hyun is at his wits’ end, dealing with a wife that nags him incessantly and insists in engaging in behavior which makes him increasingly uncomfortable. Lacking the courage to ask for a divorce, he decides to take a posting at work on the other side of the country, but when that doesn’t work after she follows him there, he gets an idea when he meets his next-door neighbor, the legendary Casanova Sung-gi (RYU Seung-ryong). He pleads with Sung-gi to seduce his wife, which would give him an easy path to divorce.

Director MIN, who debuted as a co-director (with KIM Tae-yong) of the K-horror classic Memento Mori (1999), has oscillated between genre (The Treacherous, 2015) and romantic fare (All for Love, 2005) throughout his career, but after finding an idea ripe for exploitation in the Korean market, he succeeded in crafting his most effective work yet. Tipping the scales on the romantic end of his filmography was All About My Wife, which remains the most successful film he has ever made.

Key to the film’s success of course is LIM Soo-jung’s (A Tale Of Two Sisters, 2003) fiery role as the beautiful, monstrous and uniquely charismatic woman who is driving her weak-willed husband, played to a tee as a hapless sob by LEE Sun-kyun (A Hard Day, 2014), up the wall. Shortly before he turned into a full-fledged leading man box office magnet, Extreme Job star RYU Seung-ryong injects exaggerated sophistication into his tormented romantic Sung-gi.

After a slow couple of years, 2012 turned out to be a massive year for romantic fare, including the nostalgia romantic drama Architecture 101, the romantic family drama Dancing Queen and the fantasy romance A Werewolf Boy, in addition to All About My Wife. In the seven years since, the genre has largely taken a backseat to darker genres or bigger budget projects as audiences have been content with seeking those narrative on the small screen. Yet every once in a while, a film comes around to demonstrate that the spark is still alive when the right elements align for it.
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