If you ask someone to name the biggest Korean teen films of the last decade or so, you would get basically the same 3 films. The first film never really impressed me, but took over South Korea in the summer of 2001, My Sassy Girl. The second would be different depending on the person, some people might name My Boyfriend is Type B while others would name A Millionaire’s First Love (for no reason other than pure love for Hyun Bin). The third film is a special case where a teen film can be categorized as a family film, and then quickly take over South Korea in the spring of 2004. One of the few teen films that hit it big: My Little Bride.
Yes, this is a film about teenage marriage. It’s also one of the best career choices Moon Geun-young and Kim Rae-won (who I’ll always love for Cat on the Roof) ever made. This is the film that made Geun-Young Korea’s little sister (yes, IU didn’t always own that title). This is also the only youth film that rivals My Sassy Girl in classic teen blockbuster status. Although very much family oriented, I count this as one of the top (and weirdest) Korean teen films.
Time to address the elephant in the room, My Little Bride is a remake of the hit 2002 HK film My Wife is 18. This definitely brings down the awesomeness of the MLB, but the differences between the films are big enough to give this remake its own worth. I totally recommend both films, since they both offer different stories to the audience.
MLB is a very special movie, because it isn’t really anyone’s number one. Although recognised by any Korean film watcher, MLB is never the first teen film to come to mind. This is most likely because the plot stairs towards that of an adult rom-com. I mean, it’s pretty hard to admit that your fave Korean movie is about a 16 year old marrying a guy that has survived in the army.
Synopsis from IMDb:
A teenage girl tries to continue her normal social and school life, after her grandfather forces her into an arranged marriage with a man in his twenties.
Needless to say, shenanigans and other stereotypical Korean rom-com problems ensue. Viewers are taken on a very funny and fun rollercoaster with both the characters and plot getting more random and hilarious with time. You have the fake relationship, the OTP share a home, and both leads end up thinking the other is cheating. Oh yeah, the male lead ends up being his wife’s art teacher…
Some people may argue that the film can be a little ditzy, or there was a bunch of random holes in the plot, while others might say the romance needed a little something. Although I disagree with almost all negative criticism about this film, I have to admit that this was one of the worst endings in a movie (like ever)! Do yourself a favour and watch the film up to the last ten minutes. Whenever you feel curious about the end *Spoiler Alert* remember this is a rom-com, so there has to be a happy ending… I just can’t promise that it’ll be sane and not cliquey.
Acting: I won’t take off points for over exaggerated faces, because this is a Korean film, and that’s just what Koreans do. The two leads really went places after this film. Plus, audiences get introduced to a young Shin Se-kyung. (7.5/10)
Story: Hilarious, although technically not original, still totally worth a LMApplesO. (8/10)
Impact: It wasn’t until 2011 (with Sunny and Punch) that Korea was able to produce another teen film that the whole family would love. So yeah, MLB had a lot of impact. Plus, where else can you see Moon Geun-young fall off a balcony (8/10)
Production: I can’t say this movie stands out from most movie made around that time, but I tip my hat to the director for showing me how a set can be taken apart (this is a pretty normal way to end a Korean film, yeah, I don’t get it either). (7/10)
P.S. Who else wonders about that scene with the pencil? Commenters feel free to go crazy over Geun-young’s age, but remember that Suzy was only 16 when she filmed Dream High (this is the way Korea works sometimes).