All About My Wife (내 아내의 모든 것) tells the story of Doo-hyun (LEE Sun-kyun) who after seven years of marriage wants to divorce his beautiful wife, Jung-In (LIM Soo-jung). After all the nagging, whining and complaining, he’s at his wits end, but can’t even bring up wanting to leave due to her non-stop chatter. Even him being assigned across the country does not give him rest from her as she follows along to be with him. Exasperated, he enlists the help of his new neighbour, Casanova Seong-ki (RYU Seuong-ryong), who literally has a queue of women pawing at his doorstep. Doo-hyun’s thinking, if he can’t leave, maybe he can make her leave instead and asks Seong-ki to seduce her.
If you were thinking this film is a romantic comedy, where two people meet, fall in love and the obstacles that they overcome to get together to give you hearts, rainbows and unicorns in the end … it’s not that kind of film. Instead, it’s a film about how people stop listening to each other and the barrier that causes them to drift apart.
Surprisingly, this is not a typical romance comedy I would expect coming out of South Korea. Mind you, the humour is VERY Korean with all the whiny nagging chatter typical of many female characters in Korean comedies, but there was a certain depth to it. If I were to draw a comparison, Lucy Liu’s character Ling Woo in Ally McBeal would be the closest. A kind of fiery onslaught of complaints that people wish they could say out loud but never have the balls to do.
What ultimately shines in this film is the cast who are all playing against their typical roles. LEE is usually cast in domineering male roles, is timid and scared as Doo-hyun. LIM who graces the screen usually in a quirky serenity is loud, sexy and brash as Jung-In and RYU typically found in period films, dons a suit and a ridiculous aire similar to a writer/poet seduces as Seong-ki.
*side note: for fans of Running Man, LEE Kwang-soo is also in this film as a radio host whose ratings sit in the gutter until they put Jung-In on air.
I screened this film with my sister and her boyfriend who both laughed along with its ridiculous dialogue and situations the characters found themselves in. And still, it’s one of those films that makes you think about the one you’re with and if you’re being enough for them.
All About My Wife plays in select theatres across North America June 22.
Los Angeles – CGV Cinemas
New York – AMC Ridgefield Park
Chicago – AMC Showplace Niles (Pending)
Vancouver – Cineplex Silvercity Coquitlam
Toronto – AMC Yonge & Dundas