June 6, 2009

Please Teach Me English: No White Actors Speak Korean

I got this Kim Sung-su movie not because of how much I loved his Musa: The Warriors but because I honestly have begun to feel guilty about not knowing any Korean. I thought maybe the classroom scenes in Please Teach Me English would include simple translations like how to say "My name is Drew" or "It looks like rain." (It's "Che eerum-un Drew imneeda" and "Piga ol goht katahyo" if you're curious although I had to look up those two phrases online.) But there was nothing to learn like that here. Not only was I not building my Korean vocabulary but I was repeatedly cringing as actress Angela Kelly (who plays the English teacher) was having her Korean lines dubbed by another performer. Oh, the horror! The shame! With no useful lessons to be found, this hokey film must be judged as rom-com alone. Well, it fails as a romance since there's no chemistry between the pining dork of a clerical cog (Lee Na-yeong) and the cute shoe salesman (Jang Hyuk) who's eager to learn English because his long-list sister is returning from America. And it fails as a comedy since it's laughs are based on the idea that it's funny to see a pretty actress act goofy while wearing eyeglasses. I bet an actual instructional video would be funnier. If I learned the word for love, it would be more romantic too.


  1. Dude, all you need to know is:

    Maek-ju ju-say-yo (Can I have a beer?)
    Maek-ju han byoung duh ju-say-yo (Can I have another bottle of beer?)

    But seriously, keep the reviews coming. Really enjoy them.

  2. Thanks for the tip and the compliment!

  3. although beer is pronounced more like "mechu"

    "kamsa hamnida" Thank you!

    "Anyeong haseo" Hello or Good Bye

    "Jamseoo" Its kind of like hello, but only used when answering phone.

    "obsayeo" Dont have

    "araso" I see

    "ne" yes

    "aniyo" no

    "ayomaa" Lady (usually over 30 yrs)

    "nuna" older sister

    Haha I learned more words than I thought from my 6 months of exchange in seoul.

  4. You make me want to teach English in Seoul!

  5. It's funny, I always thought of beer as McJu, like you'd order it at McDonalds!

    I taught English for almost 4 years in Taegu. Loved it. If you get the chance, do it. Check out the blog the Waygookin Way, which is my cousin's blog while he's teaching there.

  6. I just finished watching the movie, and I seriously don't think Angela Kelly's lines were dubbed. If so, they sure found someone with horrible Korean pronunciation.

  7. Helena, thanks for the insight. Your comment made me laugh!