December 1, 2016

Love So Divine: Catholic Taste in Women

When I was growing up, there really was an old shriveled-up married couple, across the street, who were a former nun and a former priest. If memory serves me right, good Catholics that they were, they had six children — four boys and two girls — and found temporary solace in the fact that their oldest son went on to become a priest. As fate would have it though, he too left the church eventually, perhaps because he was gay. He certainly seemed gay. I mention this because the infinitely less transgressive plot of the infinitely less prolific romance Love So Divine concerns a young novitiate (Kwon Sang-woo) who finds himself attracted to the ne'er-do-well niece (Ha Ji-won) of a church father (Kim In-mun) who's overseeing his final days before he's ordained.

What does he see in this young woman that leads him astray from the Lord? Nice legs. Nice ass. Looks good when she wears a veil like Mary. A taste in shoes that needs some guidance. Honestly, you'd think this young man had never seen a woman out of her habit before. Then again, what appeals to him about God? When urged by his short comic sidekick and fellow novice (Kim In-kwon) to describe God as the big man on campus to his charge as a way to increase the Lord's appeal and thereby lead her to a belated baptism, our hero presents a less-than-seductive picture. God ends up sounding like a boring fraternity brother who touts the Bible as cool.

Well, in writer-director Heo In-mu's alternate universe, a girl really can fall head over heels for a guy because he gives her a beaded necklace (a.k.a. a rosary) first and then a silver necklace with a mirrored pendant (for self-reflection and/or adoration) next. After an hour of prayer, she's going to melt when he whips out that matching set of hair-shirts the night of their honeymoon. Heaven knows, there'll be no devilish fun. These are the type of lovers who when they first profess their deepest feelings for each other hug instead of kiss. Soul mates are strictly platonic and would never kiss with the tongue.

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