For some reason I was expecting this to be a really sleazy film with little artistic merit but I was very pleasantly surprised. I found Marriage is a Crazy Thing to be a thoughtful and fascinating study of human nature. I liked the languid pace and relative lack of melodrama – the whole movie played out like a real relationship with its moments of ups and downs.
Joon-yeong (Gam Woo-sung) is a part-time professor of English Literature at a university (this fact immediately scored major brownie points, ha!). He’s the oldest among three siblings and the only one unmarried. His mom is naturally extremely worried about his single status.
One day, his good friend fixes up a blind date for him. Joon-yeong’s first date with Yeon-hee (Uhm Jung-hwa) is as tentative and tiresome as blind dates go, with each party warily sizing up the other and making feeble small talk. Before the night is over, however, both of them end up in a motel and in bed together. Thus begins the story of their relationship.
I liked Marriage is a Crazy Thing (MIACT) because it is a richly-layered story and it makes me think about the whole dating game and how a scenario like that of MIACT is probably played out in the lives of many people today.
On the surface, Joon-yeong and Yeon-hee have a sexual relationship, nothing more and nothing less. They do not voice this, but I believe deep down they think of each other as “easy” and even “cheap.” He’s sure she’s bedded other guys before, and she’s sure that he sees her as just another of his sexual conquests. They share a passionate and physically satisfying relationship devoid of commitment.
On a deeper level, however, she is looking to settle down and is secretly hoping that he can be the one for her because they get along so well. She throws various hints and plays at being a make-believe couple, but he is quite adamant that marriage is not on the cards for him. Yet he starts to miss her when she’s not around and he waits expectantly for her to call.
What ensues is a troubling shadow play where the two of them behave outwardly like a married couple deeply in love but inwardly they are torn apart by doubts, different expectations and moral standards, commitment (to others), and the realization that one day the whole farce must end.
MIACT made me think about relationships and all the things that come with deciding whether a person is the right one for you: heart vs. head decisions, pleasure vs. pressure, short-term physical companionship vs. long-term emotional commitment, etc. As a movie, it is neither funny nor sad. It is just a quiet movie told in a very straightforward manner without theatrics. I liked it.