Love of South and North


Love of South and North (a.k.a. Love Impossible) is so bad it’s actually funny. Doesn’t make sense, right? Yup, this 2003 movie makes no sense at all but I didn’t cringe, I didn’t use the fast-forward button… I watched it all the way to the end, duly puked, and swore never to watch anything else with Jo In-sung or Kim Sa-rang in it.*

Those were the days when I still had the patience of a toad waiting for its meal to zip by. Not anymore. If I were to rewatch Love of South and North today (using the subjunctive here on account of it never happening in this lifetime), I would likely last five minutes. At the most.


I liked Jo In-sung in Madeleine because he was so sweet. I didn’t like him in The Classic because he was so wooden. Now I’ve watched Love of South and North and I don’t know what to think.


He overacted so much, and so badly too, my jaw almost fell to the floor. Yet there were moments when he was extremely convincing and all the teary and best scenes came from him. And let’s not talk about Kim Sa-rang’s acting here. Thank goodness she has improved considerably since (in A Love to Kill, for instance), because there’s no way to act any worse than how she acted in Love of South and North.


The story’s about a South Korean university student (Jo In-sung) and a North Korean student (Kim Sa-rang) who meet at an archaeological site in China. Both come from rich and influential families (their fathers being big shots in government). He’s a playboy, she’s a goody-two-shoes. He chases her, she runs away. He persists, she succumbs. They fall in love and of course we know that means BIG trouble ahead.


The plot is full of caricatures and stereotypes, so right from the start I know that the only way to enjoy the movie is not to take anything seriously. The N. Korean caricatures are especially over the top. They talk funny, they walk funny, they dress like soldiers… The movie certainly did not portray the North in a flattering light.


Oh, but who cares? This is just a comedy! Or… is it supposed to be a tragedy? Or a romance? Or a political satire? I guess the movie itself couldn’t decide, so it became a clumsy jumble of everything. Not quite stew, but more like swill?


Watch this if you’re a huge Jo In-sung fan (which I am not, although I can see his appeal, ha!). Watch this if you need something really brainless to do. Don’t expect too much and you’ll be fine. Otherwise I can think of a myriad other better things in life to do… such as toad-watching.

*Both actors have since redeemed themselves in my eyes and I’m pleased to announce I’m no longer allergic to them. 🙂

5 thoughts on “Love of South and North

  1. same here, been an Insung fan for ages but his movies before A Dirty Carnival are so forgettable, I remember watching Love of North and it was quaint, hehe, i think i just endured it for the sake of Insung, hehe,

  2. Hi michiko

    Thanks for stopping by! “Quaint” is a nice way to describe this movie, LOL. I heard Jo In-sung was excellent in Dirty Carnival. I’m looking forward to Frozen Flower, too.

  3. hmmnnn..among IN SUNG’s films..this is the only film i have not seen yet. i wanna watch it but still cant find it on line.. ;(

  4. just found this article, and so love it.. thanks thundie, I love your site, it;s a gem!

    now, I want to see this movie even more.. wakakkakak.. but where to watch?

  5. I haven’t found any video online with english sub so I endured everything from the language to the the story. So after watching it I was looking for any explanation. Though looking at it I understand what happened based on how the story flows. Well, I just started watching Insung again. Frozen Flower is still the best so far, I am looking forward to see other stuff.

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