You can’t have Jung Yumi, Han Ye-ri, Jung Eun-chae, and Lim Soo-jung in a movie and NOT watch it. With the star-studded cast and a simple but interesting premise, I knew I had to give the movie a watch.
At only an hour and ten minutes (which is even less than ‘100 Days My Prince’ episodes), the movie follows four female characters who meet at the same table at the same cafe with different people at different times. Whether it’s to discuss a wedding or just simply catching up over old times, four different stories are told at the same cafe around the same table.
K-Movie Recap: The Table (2017)
The movie starts off with Yoo-jin (Jung Yumi) waiting patiently at a cafe for somebody. As she waits, she takes a look around and notices different individuals doing their own things: a guy having just finished some studying, the cafe worker wiping the counter, and a little boy walking home from school. After a few minutes, the man Yoo-jin is appointed to meet arrives at the cafe.
It’s awkward at first, but they create small talk with each other to ease the awkward tension. Whether it’s about the neighborhood or the cafe or Yoo-jin’s life as an actress, the two talk about anything and everything in between. Shortly afterwards, two of Yoo-jin’s fans notice her inside the cafe so they enter and ask for autographs. Yoo-jin is more than happy to give them her autograph, but she’s hesitant in taking photos with the fans. No one was supposed to know she was at the cafe.
Thankfully, the man chips in to rescue Yoo-jin and pretends to act as Yoo-jin’s manager. He prohibits the two fans from taking pictures so they leave. Yoo-jin thanks the man for covering up for her and notes that he truly is her friend.. except they used to be more than that. The man at the cafe with Yoo-jin is her ex-boyfriend, Chang-suk (Jung Joon-won).
They reminisce a little bit about old times and then move on to talking about relationship rumors. As an actress, Yoo-jin gets caught up in plenty of dating rumors and scandals. Curious, she asks Chang-suk some of the things he’s heard about her. From getting physically abused by her ex-boyfriend to getting an abortion, the rumors surrounding Yoo-jin are wild. However, she denies some of the details about each rumor though she doesn’t deny the relationships themselves. Yoo-jin did date a few men.
Chang-suk then proposes to take a photo with Yoo-jin since it’s been a while since they last saw each other. He wants to keep it for the memories, not to brag about their friendship or anything. Yoo-jin reluctantly agrees and Chang-suk can’t seem to stop bringing up about how much Yoo-jin’s changed. She used to be so quiet, but here she is acting in films and conversing so easily with him.
Whether it was because Yoo-jin actually needed to leave to attend a schedule or because she was bothered by the fact that Chang-suk’s co-workers were quietly standing near the cafe to observe the two talk, Yoo-jin decides to leave. She’s opened to the idea of keeping in contact with Chang-suk and asks for his support for her new drama airing in the spring. And so Yoo-jin returns to her daily life as an actress: covering up her face with a white mask and sunglasses while Chang-suk returns to work at his office.
Another couple enters the same cafe and converses with each other at the same table. It’s the first time the duo has seen each other within the year since the man’s returned from traveling. The man Min-ho (Jeon Sung-woo) describes his trip to the girl, Kyung-jin (Jung Eun-chae), and his experience of traveling to multiple countries. Kyung-jin doesn’t forget to hand Min-ho his watch as they talk.
Min-ho is curious about Kyung-jin and what she’s been up to. She comments that she’s now a food writer for a newly launched food magazine. It might not make her much money at the moment, but she enjoys it. It’s always what she’s wanted to do. Kyung-jin then switches the subject back to Min-ho’s trip so Min-ho takes some time to explain how some of the countries he visited were like. But of course, he too should start working and maybe he’ll open up a restaurant so that he can be featured in Kyung-jin’s food magazine.
Kyung-jin jokes around that she’ll help him at the restaurant which excites Min-ho. Of course, she’s just teasing him and he becomes disappointed. The awkward tension between the two lessens with the small joke so Kyung-jin opens up about Min-ho’s trip. She was hoping he would contact her during his trip or send her some pictures, but he didn’t. Their relationship is a little ambiguous so Min-ho himself wasn’t too sure if he could send her anything.
The meeting at the cafe is only the fourth time the duo has met. Prior to that, they’ve met three times and spent a night together. Min-ho continually reiterates that Kyung-jin doesn’t actually know him though. They did only meet a few times and slept together once. Hurt, Kyung-jin attempts to leave the cafe, but Min-ho holds her back. He still wants to talk to her. Once seated, Min-ho caresses Kyung-jin’s hand and relays how much he missed touching it.
He gifts her with a watch that he bought when he visited the Czech Republic on his trip. Min-ho also shows Kyung-jin other gifts he bought from several other countries. Kyung-jin smiles and is entertained with all the items. Min-ho invites Kyung-jin to come over to his place to try some of his spaghetti that he plans on cooking. They can test whether he should open a restaurant and whether Kyung-jin should resume her job of being a food writer. Kyung-jin smiles and agrees.
Two woman meet at the same cafe and surround the same table. The younger woman, Eun-hee (Han Ye-ri), discusses with the older woman Sook-hee (Kim Hye-ok) about an engagement ceremony that they’ll both be attending. Eun-hee describes to Sook-hee the type of role she’ll be playing at the engagement ceremony and gives details on the groom’s family. Sook-hee pays close attention and jots some notes down to prepare herself for her role as Eun-hee’s mother.
Eun-hee also wants Sook-hee to be there for the actual day of her wedding as well, but Sook-hee has other obligations pertaining to her family. The two resume to discussing about Eun-hee’s wedding where Eun-hee requests for Sook-hee to bring a dozen other guests to the wedding. Eun-hee will pay Sook-hee an additional amount for the guests.
Eun-hee reveals to Sook-hee that her groom is a new hire at a small sports equipment store. She unexpectedly fell for him, but she genuinely likes him. After listening to Eun-hee, Sook-hee changes her mind and vows to attend Eun-hee’s wedding. She’ll wear a dress she had bought for her late daughter’s wedding to Eun-hee’s wedding instead.
Eun-hee silently rejoices at the news and gives Sook-hee a few more small but important details about herself to help prepare Sook-hee. After sharing with Sook-hee that her nickname is Slowpoke Turtle, Sook-hee recites a small speech that she’ll say to Eun-hee’s in-laws at the wedding. Eun-hee approves of the speech and suggests they leave since they’ve finished discussing about everything they needed to talk about.
A man waits in the cafe for his ex-girlfriend while she smokes a cigarette outside. When she finishes, she enters the cafe and sits across from him at the table. The woman, Hye-kyung (Lim Soo-jung), proposes a few options that the man, Woon-chul (Yeon Woo-jin), can take to properly treat his eczema. After discussing about him, Woon-chul changes the subject to Hye-kyung and her wedding plans. How are they coming along?
Hye-kyung explains that it’s been a struggle planning the wedding since her fiance hasn’t been listening to her. However, they’ve planned their wedding for some time in the fall. Though Hye-kyung is getting married, it’s obvious she still has feelings and lingering attachments to Woon-chul. If he wants her to come back to him, she will. They can still meet on the side even when she’s married.
Woon-chul rejects the offer as tempting as it is. Hye-kyung assumes Woon-chul dislikes her to which Woon-chul doesn’t respond. Hye-kyung still pushes for an affair with her ex-boyfriend and still wants to desperately be with him, but Woon-chul denies all the attempts made by Hye-kyung.
The two exit the cafe and bid farewell right outside. Before leaving, Woon-chul comments about the dream he had of Hye-kyung the night before. He dreamt that they slept together and took a walk around different places. Hye-kyung feels content hearing about the dream, but she also acknowledges Woon-chul’s feelings. She vows that she won’t ever contact him again in which Woon-chul rightfully agrees. It’s best that way. Hye-kyung leaves to her car first while Woon-chul leaves a few seconds afterwards. The two separate and go their own ways.
Talk about subtleness and poignancy. ‘The Table’ was a simple simple movie with no action or sub-plots. It just followed the characters of four different relationships who had their own respective reasons for wanting to meet. There was nothing going on in this one-hour movie, but you weren’t actually all that bored either.
Even though the movie was all just talk and no action, just observing each duo talk in that cafe around the table with the flowers was so interesting. Each relationship was different in their own ways so you were eager to see how each duo was connected to each other. In a way, you also felt like you were there with each pair at the cafe. The movie made it feel like you the viewer were sitting with them at the table and silently watching them catch up with each other.
Out of the four stories, my favorite one would have to be Kyung-jin and Min-ho’s relationship. The ending when Min-ho invited Kyung-jin over to his house to try some of his spaghetti just won me over. It might be that he just simply wants another one-night stand with Kyung-jin at his house, but I’m thinking it’s more of him wishing to start a genuine relationship with Kyung-jin. His trip made him realize his feelings for her so he acted upon those feelings when he reunited with Kyung-jin again. I think the same could be said about Kyung-jin who was excited to meet with Min-ho again after his trip. She too thought about him and anticipated any form of contact by him during his trip and was disappointed when he failed to reach out to her. Though their relationship might have been ambiguous sand uncertain at first, things were a little clearer and more obvious once they exited that cafe.
The magic of this movie is of course the directing which beautifully highlights each character and brings each story to life. For how simple the movie was, you could have just had a simple camera filming each pair from far away and that would be the end of it. However, the directing included close-up’s to catch the subtle face expressions that each character made which I thought was beautiful. While the directing for Kyung-jin and Min-ho’s story was my least favorite (there were too many close-up’s and not enough distance shots), I enjoyed the directing and thought it was perfect for a simple and poignant movie.
Of course, this wouldn’t have been possible without the cast themselves whose primary responsibilities were to just sit in a cafe and talk. They weren’t given a lot to work with, but they managed to still express and emit their emotions with just their faces which was impressive. I liked that the movie casted actresses who are reputable and reliable; you knew you could count on Jung Yumi, Jung Eun-chae, Lim Soo-jung, and Han Ye-ri to put on great portrayals and acting even if there wasn’t a lot going on in the movie.
The table and the coffee and flowers sitting on it was symbolic of the relationships themselves. There was a reason why the camera focused so much on it throughout the movie and four stories. The flower still intact and alive represents how the relationship is still floating while the ripped petals at Woon-chul and Hye-kyung’s table represented their broken relationship. You could argue that the table and flowers symbolized and represented the four different relationships in their own ways which was a nice touch to the movie.
‘The Table’ didn’t consist of much except characters and a table, but it was still soft, calm, and poignant. Within just an hour and ten minutes, it managed to hold four different conversations about four different topics. The movie makes you ponder about the type of relationships you have in your own life and the conversations you have with these people. It’s a beautiful reminder that even the most unexpected relationships can blossom into lovely and satisfying outcomes.