July 1, 2009

S Diary: Love Is Tragic, Love Is Funny, Love Is Something Else

Sheesh. S Diary is one strange hybrid. Half romance, half comedy, the movie doesn't congeal as a romantic comedy because it tends to keep its genres separate. The first half is lightly serious stuff: a doleful tale of a young woman (Kim Seon-a) out to make boyfriends of three men she's perhaps not suited for. And as she gets closer to something deeply romantic, the movie gets slightly heavier with each subsequent rejection carrying with it a deadlier, more debilitating sting. By the third heave-ho, this unlucky lady is a real casualty of the heart. That's also when the writer-director Kwon Jong-kwan defies expectations and jumps tracks by turning what was a melancholic romance into a humorous revenge fantasy. Gone is the sat-upon sad sack unable to get a guy; in her place is a willful nut job determined to get financially recompensed for the emotional expenditures visited upon her by the choir master (Lee Hyeon-woo), the cop (Kim Su-ro) and the graffiti artist (Kong Yu). Kwon doesn't leave the weightier first half behind entirely though. There's a nice coda too in which our protagonist, a budding authoress, learns that you can't rewrite your past and that love is something best experienced in the moment. Try as we might to define our lives, we're better off just experiencing them.

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