Jealousy Is My Middle Name

I like Jealousy Is My Middle Name (2003) a lot because I’m partial to Park Hae-il and this movie really revolves around him. In My Mother, the Mermaid he was so sweet but overshadowed by Jeon Do-yeon, and in Memories of Murder he appeared only in the last one-third of the movie. There’s a lot of Park Hae-il in Jealousy Is My Middle Name!

Lee Won-sang (Park Hae-il) is an English literature graduate student who works part-time for a magazine. He has just been unceremoniously dumped by his two-timing girlfriend who, incidentally, left him for the editor of the magazine, Han Yun-sik (Moon Seong-keun).

Han is a married man whose expertise seems to be wooing and dumping. He wastes no time dumping Lee’s girlfriend and then targets a part-time photographer at the magazine, Seong-yeon (Bae Jong-ok). Han and Seong-yeon quickly develop a sexual relationship. Lee, who is attracted to Seong-yeon, now finds himself working for the man who is responsible for his two consecutive heartbreaks!

The movie starts out very slowly and with each frame we begin to see more and more of what makes each character tick. Lee seems like a sympathetic character at first. We sympathize with him because he was jilted, and we like him because he seems amiable and hardworking – the sort of quiet fellow who’s not the life of the party but who’s kind and dependable.

Then, as events unfold, we begin to see a side of Lee that’s dark and even repulsive. In contrast, we think badly of the editor at first because he’s a cad who has no qualms deceiving his wife and bedding other women. But strangely, the more we see of Han and the more we hear him talk, the more we are drawn to him. He seems to possess a quiet and intellectual charm and even Lee is fascinated by him (or so it appears).

I think Park Hae-il really shines in this movie and he looks good, too. There’s a control and edginess in his acting that makes you think his character could possibly be a psycho but you aren’t quite sure because someone with a boyish (or babyish) face like his can’t be a bad guy. Ha, looks can be so deceiving!


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