|A scene from “Venus Talk.” (Myung Films)|
Major local film house Myung Films’ latest project offers a rare opportunity to watch three of Korea’s most prominent actresses on the silver screen all at once: Uhm Jung-hwa (“Montage,” “Dancing Queen”), Moon So-ri (“HaHaHa,” “Oasis”) and Jo Min-soo (“Pieta”).
Titled “Venus Talk,” (a literal English translation of the Korean title is the Law of Sensuality) the film is a screen version of the grand prize winner of the 1st Lotte Entertainment Screenplay Contest. It deals with the love, sex and work lives of three different women in their 40s, who often struggle with their relationships and families.
Uhm, who starred as the promiscuous party girl in director Kwon Chil-in’s 2003 hit romantic comedy “Singles,” (Kwon is also the director of “Venus Talk”) returns as capable single Shin-hye, who is a TV producer. She used to date her co-worker, the current chief of their TV network, but he left her for a younger woman who also happens to be Shin-hye’s junior colleague.
Shin-hye has two best friends, Mi-yeon (played by Moon So-ri), a housewife who is not satisfied with her sex life with her rather docile husband, and Hae-young (played by Jo Min-soo), a simple, soft-hearted single mother who wants her grown daughter to move out so she can have more time with her boyfriend, Seong-jae (played by veteran actor Lee Gyeung-young).
The plot develops smoothly as Shin-hye starts to date another TV producer who is more than 10 years her junior and Hae-young’s daughter finally gets married upon her unexpected pregnancy and moves out. Things are good for the three friends until Hae-young is diagnosed with cancer, and Mi-yeon finds out her husband had an affair.
But the film does not suddenly switch to a tearjerker. Even as he deals with the very serious personal matters of the characters by the end, Kwon manages to keep a lighthearted tone throughout the movie.
The romance between Shin-hye and her younger lover seems rather stereotyped and predictable, while Hae-young’s life and her relationship with Sung-jae remain the most believable.
Before getting married, Hae-young’s daughter (played by former child actress Jeon Hye-jin) refuses to move out, because living with her mother helps her save money. Hae-young wants to marry Sung-jae, but he is hesitant especially after losing his wife to a terminal illness. Her problems and desires ― a second marriage, a grown-up child and an illness ― are rarely touched themes which distinguish this movie as a film about “women in their 40s,” just as its promotional posters claim to be.
Jo Min-soo, who impressed the audience playing a vengeful mother in Kim Ki-duk’s Cannes award-winning morality tale “Pieta,” shows a convincing performance as Hae-young as she goes through a series of unexpected hardships. Moon So-ri is hilarious as the sexually provocative Mi-yeon, and Uhm brings energy and excitement to the movie.
Pop singer BoA makes a surprising cameo appearance by the end of the film.
A Lotte Entertainment release, “Venus Talk,” opens in theaters on Feb. 13.
By Claire Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org)