Movie Pick: A Werewolf Boy
‘A Werewolf Boy’ although a commercial movie debut by director Jo Sung Hee, has received critical acclaim and recognition not only in South Korea but also in 2012 Toronto International Film Festival. Despite of the evident cold and murky aspect of the movie ‘A Werewolf Boy’ starring Song Joong Ki (my actor bias, swoons at the mention of his name) and Park Bo Young, the budding romance between Sun Yi and Cheol Soo helped in toning down the eeriness that was surrounding the movie.
AWB is a romantic film that slowly builds up its dramatic intensity as you watch it. It’s a kind of movie that leaves you in a barrel conundrum of what ifs due to the bittersweet story. Although there is an evident similarity to Twilight’s premise: a star crossed love between two different beings, they differ one another. This is granted, more sincere and more realistic in terms of facing inevitable issues that will come in between our OTP. As a matter of fact, I can say that I’m satisfied about the OTP’s fate because based from the nature of the fantasy story designed to pattern a realistic view point of human life it was logically sensible.
The movie starts where in we see a Halmoni getting ready at dusk even before her family has awakened. A little later, we watch the whole family eating together while talking about their other family member named Eun-Joo, suddenly a call disrupts their conversation, it’s the real estate agent asking grandma if she’s ready to put the house on sale. Grandma then seats stunned after the phone call and finally says she needs to go back to Hangguk. The next scene shows us an airplane landing in what seems to be the airport of South Korea. Halmoni comes out of the terminal looking for someone. A girl (also played by Park Bo Young) lets out a shrill excited voice from somewhere and we immediately know it’s the grand daughter. Both of them hug and kiss in the midst of their excitement. The moment they arrive to the house that looks dilapidated and haunted memories of Halmuni’s youth flashes back. And that’s when the real foundation of this tragic yet heart-warming story starts.
As it progresses we learn that Sun Yi’s family left the city and chose to stay in the interior because of the her lung ailment. The doctor said it would have been better for her to have a different atmosphere so that she could recuperate -although it seemed to me as if it wasn’t that big of a deal in the story. Following the advice, they left and went to the countryside with the help of their late father business partner’s son.
Song Joong Ki plays the character of a young boy with an unusual animalistic attitude who also has a supernatural DNA. (How that happened? I don’t know, all we can do is theorize) Due to the fact that he appears to be a feral, orphaned and pitiful teenager, Sun-Yi’s mother decides to adopt him. Ostracized yet headstrong young Sun-Yi despised the idea at first even to the point of refusing to eat with him everyday. Later on she finally took it to herself to break the wall that divided him and her by reading a book about how to train a dog.
What’s really admirable in the portrayal of Chul-soo is that in spite of his inabilities to communicate via words, Joong Ki was able to perfectly convey what he meant through lycanthropic tendencies. What’s more admirable about this heart-warming story is that we were also able to witness a rewarding development between two people from two different upbringings coming closer together and unknowingly maturing by accepting their oddities just because of they have found inexplicable understanding and comfort from each other.
Little did they know that what seemed to be an innocent engagement will become more than that. To be totally honest, the movie has a conventional storyline. It was just that the director perfectly resolved an orthodox plot into something totally new and emotionally gripping. Moreover, even if it did classify under the romantic genre it didn’t feel that way as I was watching it. It felt more like a story of an adoptive brother and sister getting to know each other kind of story. In fact it gave off a raw atmosphere through out the movie, like there was something missing, incomplete. Not until I was watching the almost climax and falling action parts of the movie that I got to really digest the whole romantic plot all together. It was actually a very clever technique of the director. He intentionally set up that kind of mood in order to give an end with Sun Yi’s unfinished business with Cheol-Soo by making her see him for the last time after 47 years.