August 9, 2016

The Beauty Inside: I Love All of You

We like to think there's an essential "me" inside of each of us, a self that exists free of the superficialities and realities and randoms that are our actual bodies, our haircuts, our bank accounts, our bloodline. Some call this "our true selves." Others, a soul. So it goes to follow that a soulmate is someone whom we connect to from this deepest place inside ourselves without regard to how we look and what we do. Kind of.

Baek Jong-yeol's marvelous The Beauty Inside both challenges and supports these ideas by having the male romantic lead, a furniture designer named Woo-jin, suffer from a condition that causes him to wake up in a new body every day. I guess you could call it, multiple body disorder. His mother (Mun Suk) -- wisely -- doesn't take him to a doctor. His best friend (Lee Dong-hwi) thinks it's a hoot. Longterm dating is off the table. That is, until he meets Yi-soo (Han Hyo-ju), a furniture salesperson who connects with him from that very special place within. Home decor does tell us a lot about a person, scoff if you must.

That means she's willing to stick around and cuddle even when he wakes up as a middle-aged bald guy (Kim Sang-ho), an attractive young woman (Ko Ah-sung), an old lady (Lee Myeong-ja), a child... Fortunately, she gets a number of handsome men (Lee Dong-wook, Lee Beom-su, Lee Jin-wook) to tide her over but a love that keeps changing its face, its voice and sometimes its language is definitely be hard to sustain. That Yi-soo is game to try speaks volumes about her integrity and her sense of adventure. There's a few asides that suggest Woo-jin tried initiating a relationship with other women prior to her but once you've found your soulmate, let's face it: All the others just disappear.

Awards: Han Hyo-ju was rightfully nominated as best actress for the Baek Sang Art, Blue Dragon and Grand Bell awards. But that Yang Jin-mo didn't win the Grand Bell for editing, despite also being nominated, is the real crime here! At least Baek Jong-yeol won best director.

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