Movie Review: My Dear Enemy (2008)

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This is what happens when you’re bored because school hasn’t started and work isn’t stealing all of your time. I stumbled upon Korean movie ‘My Dear Enemy’ starring Ha Jung-woo and Jeon Do-yeon not too long ago from another website I had been browsing so I thought, why not give it a try?

The storyline is simple in that Jung-woo and Do-yeon used to be a couple but broke up for reasons. When they were still together though Jung-woo had borrowed $3,500 from her so she returns a year later to Jung-woo demanding for her money back. They spend an entire day meeting Jung-woo’s acquaintances/friends/colleagues who he manages to borrow money from in order to pay Do-yeon back.

Note: Potential spoilers ahead so please refrain from reading if you don’t want to be spoiled.

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To be honest, the movie was not the most entertaining because the storyline is so simple. I actually had a hard time finishing this movie in one watch that I stopped watching it and then resumed it the next day just because I could not get myself to complete it all in one day. With that being said though, the movie isn’t bad. I fell in love with Ha Jung-woo’s portrayal of his character Byung-woon who by no means is a bad guy. There was potential for him to be portrayed as a jerk or the antagonist because he borrowed $3,500 from Hee-soo (Jeon Do-yeon) without ever having paid her back and now he’s perpetuating this cycle of borrowing money from people he’s just kind of met. But in ‘My Dear Enemy’, he’s not a bad guy and he isn’t cruel either. I actually think he was kind of smooth in the way that he asked for money. His bright, charming, and relaxed personality is what makes you care for him and you understand how he has so many different people he can contact to ask for money. Yes, he might not be in the best financial situation (hence why he’s asking to borrow money), but his personality explains why he has people to borrow money from. He’s kind of a charming guy who knows what he’s doing.

I liked how the movie was able to smoothly give us glimpses of Byung-woon and Hee-soo’s relationship when they were still together through their conversations. It didn’t feel forced and you gained good insight on what their relationship was like through the conversations that they had while they were traveling to meet Byung-woon’s acquaintances/friends. By meeting up, our two characters were catching up with each other and in those conversations of catching up with each other you understood what their relationship was like. The movie didn’t shove at us scenes of flashbacks of their relationship, but rather gave us context about their past romantic relationship through their conversations. Things like questions that Byung-woon would ask Hee-so if she still liked doing or memories that he would recall about Hee-soo when they used to date happened so naturally. That was refreshing to see.

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Because the storyline is so simple and the entire movie literally takes place in a day, there’s not a lot that goes on. This movie was more focused on our characters Byung-woon and Hee-soo’s relationship than about Hee-soo getting her money back. Ironically, she started out in the pursuit to get her $3,500 back but in the end she realized that there are other things that are of more value to her than money. While Hee-soo was focused on her money, the entire journey in getting there made her think twice about things which she did not expect at all. She approached Byung-woon expecting to get her money and then just leave but she got different results in the end. She thought twice about her relationship with Byung-woon and about whether she really wanted her money or not, but at the end of that day she realized that maybe things aren’t what she had believed it to be. The movie demonstrates this in the most subtle way ever so you don’t actually witness her coming to this realization. Instead, there were small moments here and there that leads you to believe this about her.

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The journey to getting her money back was a process that Hee-soo thought she had all planned out but what she did not expect was for the way that it actually went. It was fun watching her just go with the flow and follow Byung-woon everywhere while also learning more about what he’s been up to since their break-up and while reminiscing about their good old days. Once you learn more and more about their past relationship you kind of want Hee-soo and Byung-woon to give their relationship a second try again. Whether or not they actually do is unanswered because the ending didn’t give us any context on their future, but I wouldn’t call it impossible considering what they talked about during the car rides to various locations or what it was like spending an entire day together again. Even the title itself ‘My Dear Enemy’ hints what kind of relationship Byung-woon and Hee-soo had with each other. Even though Byung-woon is Hee-soo’s enemy because he had used her money, she still cherishes him in a way and he still remains a precious and sweet memory to her hence why it’s ‘My Dear Enemy’ and not just ‘My Enemy.’

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Overall, ‘My Dear Enemy’ was a fun, simple, and breezy watch, but not the most entertaining or packed with substance. If you’re looking for something easy to watch while you’re eating or folding your laundry this movie would do. As for me, as much as I enjoyed the movie it’s not a film that I would watch again (it took me the longest time to finish this movie the first time around lol). Jeon Do-yeon and Ha Jung-woo are great in this movie (like how they always are) so that’s another plus. Overall, Byung-woon might have stolen 2 hours of my time, but I wouldn’t allow him to steal another 2 hours of my time again.

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