PLAYMATE UNTIL DEATH DOES US PART
Boy and girl receive a grim prognosis. Boy meets girl. Boy and girl shop for their own funeral. You know. It’s your classic love story.
Let me just get this out of the way. I hate the title for this movie. True, the movie from the 80’s doesn’t have the space in the middle. But considering the plot of the movie, they could have gone with a million other titles. Now that that’s out of the way…
Uhm Tae Woong plays Dong Joo, cancer patient and man-child. He lives with his younger brother and sister-in-law. He likes to play the lottery in hopes of one day winning it. Jung Ryeo Won is Song Kyung, cancer patient and extremely practical. She is a bank teller and is constantly planning for her future.
It’s a different kind of role for Uhm Tae Woong and I’m wondering if that’s because we got to see a different side of him on 1N2D. I like this side to him. It’s not like he hasn’t done comedies before but I’m so used to him appearing as the cool guy. From his clothing to his acting, Uhm Tae Woong really embraced the role of man-child.
I have to be honest, I wasn’t a big fan of Jung Ryeo Won but I can only base that on her as a celebrity and her role in My Name is Kim Sam Soon. Now, I am fast becoming her avid fan because of History of the Salaryman.
Both of the main characters aren’t really living life in the present. Dong Joo puts all his efforts into winning the lottery and dreaming of what life could be like if he won. Song Kyung is too busy planning for her future to realize that life is happening around her. Chemistry is vital for a romantic story. Before watching it, I just couldn’t see Uhm Tae Woong playing opposite Jung Ryeo Won. The strength of this film lies heavily on their performances and the writing.
Unlike Scent of a Woman, I like how the film approaches the topic of facing death head on by having Dong Joo and Song Kyung go on dates where they go shopping for funeral related items (e.g. coffins, urns, burial clothes). There’s nothing wrong with living the last days of your life by taking one last luxurious vacation but it’s a bit dark to shop for your own funeral. Through their dates, I can see why they become attracted to each other. Song Kyung is attracted to Dong Joo’s lightness and energy. Dong Joo is attracted to Song Kyung’s practicality and her desire to not be a burden on anyone else.
I love how my impression of their incompatibility changes as the movie goes on. When they are told that they each have 3 months to live that really isn’t their wake up call. Their wake up call comes when they meet each other and it’s exceedingly charming.
Backing up our main characters are Song Kyung’s friends and Dong Joo’s family. Dong Joo’s family play more of a role in the film than Song Kyung’s friends.
Dong Joo’s younger brother (Park Ki Woong) is married to an older woman who is also Dong Joo’s friend (Yoo Sun). Even though Dong Joo is the older brother, he’s not quite as mature as his younger brother and sister-in-law. However, everything changes when they find out that Dong Joo has been keeping his illness a secret.
The cast for this film is pretty minimal as the focus is on our main two characters. Both actors are strong enough to carry this film but it’s also thrilling to see cameo appearances by some famous faces. Some of which are: Comedian Park Sung Gwang as a matchmaker; Cha Tae Hyun as Song Kyung’s friend who gives the couple their fortune; and Kwon Hae Hyo as their doctor.