It’s funny how I sometimes stumble on a movie that I wouldn’t otherwise have checked out on my own, simply because it’s available on in-flight entertainment and I’m something of a captive audience with limited options to choose from.
Beauty Inside was the movie whose trailer appealed to me the most today, out of the k-trailers that I checked out while on the plane, and I hafta say, it turned out to be a more thought-provoking watch than I’d originally expected.
While I’d seen a robust amount of buzz as this movie was making its way towards its premiere, the bit of viewer response that I happened to see after its premiere, was mostly of the generally underwhelmed variety. Most people seemed to feel that this movie was more hype than substance, and that there isn’t a whole lot of story to this show.
I can see where they’re coming from, really.
The movie’s premise is quirky but essentially pretty straightforward: Woo Jin wakes up as a different person everyday. He falls in love with Yi Soo (Han Hyo Joo). But how does one make a relationship work when one shows up – literally – a completely different person one day to the next?
The story is simple, but that didn’t simplify Woo Jin and Yi Soo’s problems, for me. Combined, their perspectives turn up so many themes that resonate with me on a universal level.
THE BUNDLE OF THEMES
From Woo Jin’s point-of-view:
1. The question of identity. Does our appearance correlate with who we are? Does my appearance influence / interfere with who I am? Just because I look different today, does that make me a different person than who I was yesterday?
2. The question of acceptance. This is something that all of us desire, really. To be accepted for who we are, regardless of what we look like. Sure, the movie amplifies this issue with its unusual premise, but that magnification brings the question into sharp, unrelenting focus, which I found useful.
…Which brings me to Yi Soo’s point-of-view:
1. Can we accept someone for who they are, regardless of what they look like on the outside? It’s a thought-provoking thing to examine ourselves and whether we would be able to love our significant others and loved ones the same, if they looked like completely different people.
2. The question of how much we’re affected by the opinions of the people around us. I always say that context is everything, but can we love someone regardless of popular opinion? How much does popular opinion count, when we consider what’s right for us, and what’s right, period? How strong is our love; can it withstand the weight of the surge of others’ opinions?
Sure, the movie raises more questions than it answers, but this is one of those times where I find the questions themselves satisfying and meaty enough on their own. Our characters arrive at an answer that works for them; more importantly, the movie leaves me with a train of thought for me to explore, that will hopefully help me to arrive at an answer that works for me. That’s definitely engagement on a personal level, and I dig that.
Beyond the novelty of the multiple cameos and picking my favorite versions of Woo Jin from among the many actors who played him (Park Seo Joon! Yoo Yeon Suk!), and Han Hyo Joo’s sweet onscreen presence as Yi Soo, the intriguing themes raised in this movie continue to linger with me after the credits have stopped rolling.
A movie whose questions and themes continue to echo in my heart and mind, literally hours after I’ve finished the watch? That’s definitely Not Bad At All.
THE FINAL VERDICT:
Thought-provoking and bittersweet. With a little more emphasis on the sweet than bitter.
FINAL GRADE: B