Lover aka The Intimate (2005)
Release Date: 8 December 2005 (South Korea)
Runtime: 98 min
Director: Eun-tae Kim
Company: Kihweck Shidae
Movie Info: IMDb
Cast: Dong-Hyuk Cho, Ye-ryeong Kim, Hyeon-a Seong
Genre: Drama | Erotic | Romance
Plot: What if you met your true love while you were engaged to someone else? Director Kim Tae-Eun explores this question in The Intimate, a typical "Boy Meets Girl" love story with the added complication that the girl already has a fiancé. On a thematic level, the film's premise alone seems to be setting up oppositions like "Passion vs. Logic," "Romance vs. Stability," and "Love vs. Duty," but when all is said and done, it's difficult to know exactly what the filmmakers want viewers to take away from the experience, aside from perhaps a few vicarious thrills and empty platitudes about true love. It's not a bad film per se; it's just one that can't really overcome its lackluster conclusion.
Sung Hyun-Ah (from Cello and The Scarlet Letter) portrays the anonymous "Ms. Girl" who finds herself involved in an illicit tryst. The film begins with a frame story set some time after the main events of the movie. In this brief prologue, she's asked about how she first met her husband-to-be. She smiles in response, and the film then flashes back to a fateful day when Ms. Girl crossed paths with a handsome stranger (Cho Dong-Hyuk, from Hypnotized). After a few chance encounters, the two of them pal around, and a flirtation begins that quickly turns into something else. Soon enough, one thing leads to the other, and the two end up having sex. Quite vigorously, in fact.
Although it's lust at first sight, there does seem to be potential for something more. Unfortunately, he's leaving for Africa after his company went bankrupt, and she's engaged to be married in a month. Rather than just leave things as they are, "Mr. Boy" (as he's called at one point) decides to pursue her, and the two end up spending twenty-four hours together. In the ensuing day, Ms. Girl must take stock of her life, as she experiences romance and passion on a level she's only dreamed of previously. She discovers a definite chemistry with her new hunk, but she's committed to a man she's been dating for seven years. Who will she choose? If the film's frame story is to be believed, then it's a foregone conclusion, right? Well, maybe not.
Overall, The Intimate is a beautifully-shot, erotically-charged film with a compelling, if not exactly original premise. The story arc proves to be engaging simply from an "I wonder what's going to happen next"-type perspective, but how things eventually end up for the film's protagonists may leave some viewers more than a little frustrated. Despite that well-worn cliché about the importance of the "journey," sometimes the destination does matter. (LoveHKFilm)