South Korea | 123 MINUTES | Korean |
MY DEAR ENEMY
Lee Yoon-Ki's (This Charming Girl) deadpan comedy trails a pair of former lovers—he's a charismatic romantic and she's a no-nonsense realist—who bump into each other one year down the road. Hee-su wants back a hunk of cash she lent him, but perpetually penniless Byung-woon is unable to settle his debt. Refusing to leave Hee-su in the lurch, he carts her around Seoul on a day-long urban road trip to borrow small amounts from various acquaintances. As both day and debt are whittled down, the pair fall back into old patterns, rehash unsettled gripes, and slowly come to see each other in a new light.
Based on the short novel by Taira Azuko, My Dear Enemy is an exercise in subtle comedy, anchored by the delightful chemistry of the pitch-perfect lead performers. Jeon Do-youn, as the sensible, even-tempered Hee-su counterbalances the hysterical mother of a murdered child she played in Secret Sunshine, for which she was named best actress at Cannes in 2007. Ha Jung-woon, too, is winning as the compulsively likeable, if unfailingly inept Byung-woon (a role also in stark opposition to his previous outing as the serial killer antagonist in Hong-jin Na's The Chaser). During their day of piecemeal debt collection, they slowly unfold their characters' nuanced relationship. Truly this is a romance for a recession age.