Review: 너는 펫 (Neoneun Pet/You’re My Pet)

Year: 2011
Director: Kim Byung-kon (김병곤)
Country: South Korea
Screenplay: scriptwriter not named in the any of the sources I consulted
Cast: Jang Geun-sook (장근석), Kim Ha-neul (김하늘)
Runtime: 110 min.
Trailer: on YouTube (1 min trailer with English subtitles)
Film’s official website: in Korean
Advance warning: This review contains spoilers. I would recommend reading it only if you are already familiar with the manga or J-dorama that preceded the K-film.
너는 펫 (Neoneun Pet/You’re My Pet) sets itself up for problems from the start as it commits a fatal error when it allows Eun-yi (Kim Ha-neul) and In-ho (Jang Geun-sook) to meet under ‘human’ circumstances: Eun-soo (Choi Jong-hoon), Eun-Yi’s younger brother, brings In-ho, who has been booted out his own place, to his sister’s house for them to spend the night there. Continue reading “Review: 너는 펫 (Neoneun Pet/You’re My Pet)”

Review: 「スマイル」 (Sumairu/Smile)

Year: 2009
Director: Yasuharu Ishii, Toshio Tsuboi, Akihiko Watase
Screenplay: Takayuki Takuma
Cast: Matsumoto Jun, Aragaki Yui, Nakai Kiichi
There is a plethora of Asian dramas out there, the majority of which suffer from the same ailments: weak, often completely nonsensical plot lines and an overindulgence in clichés and stock characters. The 11-episode Japanese dorama スマイル (Smile, 2009) has none of these faults, but sets itself apart with the pertinent as well as heart-wrenching story of Hayakawa Vito (played by a very tanned Matsumoto Jun), a hardworking half-Japanese, half-Filipino man who always has a smile on his face. Vito has only ever lived in Japan, speaks only Japanese and really knows nothing about Filipino culture yet has suffered from prejudice for being a ‘foreigner’ (‘gaijin’) since childhood. This discrimination makes no sense at all but persists in Japan to this day, with Sumairu courageously putting the issue of racism in Japanese society at the core of this drama. Continue reading “Review: 「スマイル」 (Sumairu/Smile)”