Publicity Stills of "April Snow"
(Courtesy from Encore Films)

Genre: Melodrama
Director: Hur Jin-ho
Starring: Bae Yong Joon, Son Ye Jin
RunTime: 1 hr 45 mins
Released By: UIP & Encore Films
Rating: NC-16

Release Date: 13 October 2005

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Synopsis :

At a live concert in Seoul, the staff is busy backstage preparing for the show. In-su is the lighting director for the concert and is busy working, but he suddenly gets a phone call, and passes his work over to his friend and rushes off. He is in a big hurry and speeds down the highway. He is in such a frantic rush that even though the speeding meter catches him on camera as he zooms by, he is unfazed. He is headed for the emergency room of Samcheok hospital, in the east coast of Korea. The fact is that he was informed that his wife, Su-jin, was injured in a car accident on a snowed over road and is in critical condition. Her car crashed into another. When he reaches the hospital, he is surprised to find out that Kyung-ho, who was the driver of the car his wife was in, is in the emergency room too. Kyung-ho and Su-jin were supposedly on a business trip. At the hospital, he happens to meet Seo-young, Kyung-ho’s wife, for the first time. Being faced with the critical life and death situation of their spouses Seo-young and In-su share sympathy for each other.

As the police conduct their investigation of the accident, it turns out that the Kyung-ho and Su-jin had been lovers. And this trip actually had nothing to do with business. In-su and Seo-young are overcome with absolute shock. They can’t admit the horrible reality that they’ve been in love with people who’ve been in love with someone else. The harshness of this realization causes them more pain than that which resulted from the accident itself.

Sharing the hard emotional times together, In-su and Seo-young start to become closer. They meet often while visiting the hospital, in places like the intensive care unit’s waiting room and the cafeteria, and they slowly discover how much they have in common. Eventually, as fate would have it, they fall for each other. They begin to take more and more comfort in been together. But they are torn between feelings of guilt and happiness about having found each other. One day Seo-young asks “How is it that we are thrown into such trouble and pain, while they were so happy with each other without us knowing?” In-su is at a loss of words.

As they grow increasing and naturally closer to each other, while struggling with feelings of guilt, Su-jin one day gains consciousness. In-su seeing her crying, and finds it hard to hate her for what she did. Knowing that Su-jin is back in In-su’s life, Seo-young tries to her best to detach herself from him. But the more she tries to stay away, she finds herself more and more attracted to him. They decide to get away on a trip together, where they share extreme happiness being alone together, but during their get away, Kyung-ho dies in the hospital. The pain and guilt Seo-young feels for not having seen her husband before he dies pushes her to forget about In-su, and they end their relationship. In-su then decides to care for his recovering wife, giving her all his attention, and when she finally gets well, he tells her about everything.

It’s spring, April. A concert at an open stage is going on and suddenly it begins to snow. The audience goes wild to see that it’s snowing. In-su is reminded of the previous winter. At the same time, somewhere else, Seo-young is also reminiscing while watching the snow slowly fall. In-su is driving to Samcheok, while Seo-young is on her way there too. The two of them are smiling with looks of anticipation to relive the happiness they thought they had one day lost for good.

Movie Review:

Bae Yong Joon became a household name in Asia after his drama series “Winter Sonata” was very well received in the Asian countries, especially in Japan and Bae Yong Joon’s popularity blossomed enormously since then. He had also been likened as the representative to spearhead the Korean culture wave in Asia. The same goes for his co-star, Son Ye Jin whose own group of fans (specially the males) has been growing ever since after her stellar performance in “The Classic” and “A Moment to Remember”.

Putting these two Korean superstars together with Director, Hur Jin-Ho who has 2 blockbuster movies (“One Fine Spring Day” and “Christmas in August”) to his resume, the buzz factor for “April Snow” couldn’t be higher. However can the trio live up to the hype that was built up by the fans and media?

April Snow’s story wasn’t really a new take on the theme of affairs or adultery. The plot setup of April Snow is very similar to Harrison Ford’s “Random Hearts” and Wong Kar Wai’s “In the Mood for Love” in which all three movies depicted the story of a man and a woman who become romantically involved after they discover that their spouses had an affair. In this case, April Snow didn’t really present any new insights or angles to the adultery theme that had already been presented before.

Similarities aside, April Snow was very effective in presenting the pain and sorrow that the adulterous couple inflicted on our two main actors with their reckless affairs. Especially the scene when Bae Yong Joon and Son Ye Jing had to attend a funeral of a driver whose death was caused by the actions of driving under intoxication by their spouses. Hearts would pour out to them as they try to pick up the shatter pieces of their marriage left by their irresponsible spouse who are conveniently in a coma.

However the transition from betrayed spouses to lovers seeking comfort in each other was an uneven flow. One might wonder if this film would have worked better in a drama series where the actors has the luxury of time to build up the creditability of the character’s emotions moving from a motions of despair, betrayal and confusion to affection and desire of another person. Stuck within a movie’s time frame, the romance between Bae Yong Joon and Son Ye Jing felt rather rushed and implausible.

The ending of this film, although beautiful and poetic, also came somewhat abrupt, leaving some of the issues unresolved. In fact this movie seems to draw out more questions than answers. Does two wrongs make one right? Or will they walk the same path their adulterous spouses did?

Fans of Bae Yong Joon and Son Ye Jing should be able to get their money’s worth from April Snow as there are frequent close-ups of them and these close-ups managed to showcase how charming and attractive these two are. And then there is this sensational bed scene by these two stars, sizzling almost as much as the naked bodies of Bae Yong Joon and Son Ye Jing wriggling in the midst of hot passionate action. It was rather surprising to see Son Ye Jing revealing so much of her body in this movie but no complaints!

April Snow will not be the most memorable movie that will make one remember the trio of Bae Yong Joon, Son Ye Jing and Hur Jin-Ho for: even though it does have it’s own special moments and both actor and actress bring about a certain degree of complexity of emotions in the characters they played.

Movie Rating:

(“Not the finest performance from Bae Yong Joon and Son Ye Jing but good enough to warrant at least one viewing”)

Review by Richard Lim Jr



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