Scent of Love

Suh In-ha (Park Hae-il) is a 20-year-old freshman at the university who falls in love at first sight with his senior, Hee-jae (Jang Jin-young). She, however, is in love with someone else.

For the next seven years, even though their lives take them in different directions (a chilling event turns hers upside down), In-ha continues to love Hee-jae with a steadfast devotion. She finally accepts his affection and they get married.

At this juncture, the logical thing to do is be happy for the couple, no? Yet here was where I had my first major grouse with Scent of Love (2003).

We are not shown how she accepts him, how they court (that period in the university doesn’t count because she was dating someone else), and how they end up getting wed to each other.

One moment she’s giving him the cold shoulder (it was so one-sided his longing for her), the next moment they are married and seemingly in utter bliss. Hello!! A smoother transition would be much appreciated, thank you.

I liked the first half of the movie where In-ha and Hee-jae were still in school. He seemed more at ease then and she was so lively, too. I didn’t like the disjointed (and depressing) shift in mood in the second half. For example, just as my tears were welling up in a sad scene, something unrelated would crop up and I felt like a silly fool who was about to cry but suddenly had no reason to. Grrrrr!!

Also, what happened to Park Hae-il? (And here I confirm the adage that when one’s grumpy everything starts becoming fodder for criticism. Oops!) Somehow he seemed less attractive here than he was in My Mother, the Mermaid. Looking shorter and stockier than normal, he sported a most unflattering hairstyle and his acting was also so understated. I wished he showed more emotion in some of the sadder scenes. His face could be so impassive at times.

At least I really liked Jang Jin-young here. I never got the impression she was acting; she always seemed so natural. If only the movie was as self-assured as its lead actress.

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