Director: Hwang In-Ho
Cast: Son Ye-jin, Lee Min-ki, Park Chol-Min, Kim Hyeon-Sook, Lee Mi-Do, Hwang Seung-Un
RunTime: 1 hr 54 mins
Rating: PG13 (Some Frightening Scenes)
Released By: InnoForm Media & Cathay-Keris Films
Official Website: http://www.ossak2011.co.kr/
Opening Day: 10 May 2012
Synopsis: Due to her unique ‘sense’, Yu-ri (Son Ye-jin) is unable to live a normal life or even think about dating anyone. One day, cupid’s arrow strikes a horror magician with frail ‘guts’, Jo-gu (Lee Min-ki), to fall for Yu-ri. Their sweet dating game turns into a sheer nightmare with ghosts blocking in the way of their happiness. Although Yu-ri is used to it, Jo-gu is terrified and feels his life threatened. Despite the spine-chilling stumbling blocks, Yu-ri and Jo-gu cannot give up on their love and put up the fight of their lives to keep it.
My girlfriend can see ghosts can be easily dismissed as yet another rom-com from kimchi land. Borrowing the words from Transformer, it’s more than meets the eye!
My girlfriend can see ghosts, also known as Spellbound, is the directorial debut of Hwang In-ho. He is better known as a screen writer for hot-selling movies of the same genre, such as 2 Faces of my girlfriend (2008). Hwang is definitely not an amateur when it comes to screen writing and movie production, hence the engaging and endearing story.
Veteran actress Son Ye-jin plays the role of Yu-ri, who sees ghosts after a near death experience back in high school. Because of her ‘special ability’, she was even discriminated by her own family. Yu-ri ends up clammed up and withdrawn, maintaining relationships with her family and friends only through the phone, where she feel that she would not impose or bring any harm to them. However things started to take a change after she met Jo-gu, played by Lee Min-Ki, a street magician who gained astronomical success with his Horror Magic Show.
Even after working with him and his team for over a year, Yu-ri had never once joined them for a post-performance celebration dinner. However, Jo-gu successfully tricked her into coming. This eventually becomes the beginning where Jo-gu realizes that his interest in Yu-ri is more than just an employer-employee relationship. Under the influence of alcohol, Yu-ri displayed a side of her that makes stark contrasts with her usual withdrawn self and evokes lots of laughter. Subsequently, the spooky encounters with different ghosts add on to some comedic elements as well.
Son Ye-jin scored with her role as Yu-ri, as expected of an outstanding actress. Although her performance was not exactly a breakthrough or exceedingly dazzling, her sincere performance connects to the hearts of all those lonely souls. The confession of the ‘I’m actually not okay being alone though I always say I am,’ was particularly affecting. On the other hand, Lee Min-Ki, who was also seen in previous films such as Quick (2011), showed a more sophisticated side of him as he expresses Jo-gu’s dilemma when it comes to falling in love with Yu-ri. How he eventually pours out his heart to Yu-ri, undoubtedly the second peak of the movie, was really heart tugging.
The reason this movie is such a palatable treat is not only attributed by the good acting and romance story, but also the horror factor and good screen writing that makes the whole movie come together. As mind boggling as it is, the horror element actually fits this movie nicely. Though not particularly well done in terms of the CGI, the ghosts still jolt you out from your seat, and surely keep your tension high. The unveiling of the mystery behind Yu-ri’s spooky encounters also tied in well with the whole story. The dialogues exchanged between them are sometimes cute, and sometimes simply spot-on, albeit in a foreign language. All these elements combined, sprinkled with a little magic, piece together an endearing and heart-warming movie.
To top everything off, this movie is possibly the best date movie you can get around lately. It has the romance, horror and comedic elements combined in good balance. Even for the uninitiated and for people who are sceptical about anything Korean, this is going to be an enjoyable treat. Discover how love can triumph fear and help a person who once lost faith to believe in humankind again!
(There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out all fear!)
Review by Tho Shu Ling