Love So Divine

((summary taken from AsianMediaWiki))

A young priest falls in love with a chic young woman! Not the typical plot for a romantic comedy (especially by Western standards), this one finds a young Catholic priest having a difficult time choosing between his religious calling and the charms of a sexy parishioner. Yu (Kwon) is a serious young man who has always worked towards his life ambition... to serve God as a Catholic priest. When he gets assigned to a small church in rural Korea, Kyu meets the Pastor's niece, Bong-Hee who has just come back from the United States... You know what happens next.





My Rating:

 The plot for this movie never really stood out to me... it always reminded me too much of the Korean drama, Love Letter (arguably, one of my least favorite K-dramas). But because of the cast, I gave it a try anyway. After all, it starred Kwon Sang Woo and Ha Ji Won, two favorite actors of mine. (Ha Ji Won in particular, since I adored her in Damo and Duelist.) And because it got such high ratings in Korea during its theatrical release, I figured this version of the story must be better.

...I was wrong.

The main problem I had with this movie was the story and the characters. Frankly, Ha Ji Won’s character is annoying. She’s loud, rude, obnoxious, and portrayed as an outspoken, selfish, god-less foreigner. HJW, to give credit where credit is due, does an excellent job of bringing the character to life--but the character is so unlikeable--the romance so forced, that in the end, the unappealing nature of the female protagonist becomes the movie's ultimate downfall.

Instead of a touching love story about a young man questioning his love and devotion to god after falling in love with a woman—it came across as a story about a young man, destined for the church, who finds himself questioning his future as a Catholic priest when he starts harboring sexual feelings for a woman.

I think that's another major problem I had with this film: the two main characters have nothing in common, and almost all of their shared "moments" are underlined by sexual innuendos. Their "accidental" kiss; all the times he checks her out; taking her to a love motel after she's passed out drunk; staring at her passed out body that's in a compromising position; his obvious embarrassment when she lies out sunbathing. Rather than falling in love with her, it's almost as though he falls in "lust" with her, and rather than making him question his devotion to god, it makes him doubt his ability to remain celibate for the rest of his life. I won't deny that there are non-sexual moments between them... but the problem is, none of them ever really come to fruition. Even when he attempts to do something nice for her (like buy her new shoes) we're never shown him actually giving her the gift; or when he takes her to a baseball game, he doesn't even sit by her, and ends up leaving early.

That's exactly the type of thing this movie didn't need.

The man's a soon-to-be priest: they have all the conflict they need right in the plot. They should have been concentrating less on their surface-attraction for each other, and more on the genuine inner feelings they were experiencing. There was so much great untapped potential here, especially with these actors--but rather than a true love story, we're shown the common "oh no, she's getting back with her ex" plot line. We're shown only sexual cues and awkwardness, and lots of torn-apart-before-we-can-begin angst, but no innocent, romantic build-up.

And he's almost a priest! We need that build-up!!
Truthfully, it seemed like he would have fallen for any woman at that time, especially since it was right before he was about to be ordained. And since the focus was so heavily on the sexual as opposed to the romantic, what else were we supposed to think...?!
On another note, I wonder if I'm the only one
freaked out by the choir song at the wedding. It came out of nowhere, and seemed really out of place: a disturbing Sister-Act rip off, only not nearly as good. At first I thought it was a joke, considering how they'd ridiculed the original choir--but then, after their "performance" the audience actually cheered like crazy--as though they were actually impressed. Just watching it made me uncomfortable and embarrassed, especially after seeing the "I'm too cool" rebel high schoolers cheering right along with the audience. I did not need to see men in long priest robes dancing/prancing strangely out of nowhere, just to reinforce the idea that priests too, can have fun. After all, that’s what the main character’s funny, women-loving friend was for. It just came off as awkward and stupid to me, and didn't fit the rest of the movie at all.
Of course, I’m probably in the minority here. Most people, I’m sure, will adore this—if for no other reason, then the fact that it stars KSW and HJW. In the end though, this film seemed very mediocre and unimpressive to me: it felt like a lot of its potential was lost in the hands of its director and scriptwriter. It could have been amazing--instead, it's a standard romantic comedy, with nothing to set it apart from the rest. And that fact alone, almost made it painful to watch.


Comments

  1. I totally agree with you on your points about this film.
    I watched this film just now! And I was looking for an answer to what the ending meant. I was watching it with english subtitles and so I just didn't understand the ending! SO BAD!!
    I love KSW which is the reason I even bothered to watch this movie. I didn't have high hopes for it from the start upon seeing the poster for it.

    I was hoping some real romance would spark off but it didn't. As you say, it just looked like lust. That was lame.

    I found it a pretty sad (pathetic) plot line. How awful. This fallen woman has taken a good God fearing bloke off the path and into the mires of sex. Hahaha. Dreadful ey?

    I judge a chick flick's value by how often it can make me tear up crying and laughing.
    This did neither. Disappointing :(

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  2. I believe that in the end, he became a priest... do you remember the response that the seminarians had to reply to the bishop? it was "deo gratias" - however when it was his turn he didn't answer... twice he was asked by the bishop...

    in the end... he said it twice: Deo gratias when looking over the city and once again at the end.. "deo gratias"

    my interpretation is that he did become a priest.

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  3. he is not yet a priest but a seminarian still..

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