Lee Sang-hee & Ryu Abel in Our Love Story (2016)

Our Love Story cannot be called “satisfying” but it’s surely a good watch.

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6.8/10 · IMDb

Director: Hyun-ju Lee

Starring: Lee Sang-hee, Ryu Abel

Our Love Story or Yeon-ae-dam (2016) is just that: their love story. Of all the Korean lãng mạn movies I’ve seen, this one stands out for two reasons: its simple, underwhelming screenplay and of course, the queer romance.

The plot traces the love story of Yoon Ju & Ji Soo, two young women in Seoul. Until the part of the plot, where the protagonists start dating, everything’s rosy. You’re almost thrilled about the fact that Yoon Ju is finally figuring out that she’s not interested in men because she’s not straight.

The thrill doesn’t last long. Red flags hoist high up in the air almost instantly. At one point, it’s clear. Yoon Ju is just bad at relationships. She turns out to lớn be an overprotective girlfriend who doesn’t understand priorities. Ji Soo proves to be an equally confused lesbian with bad communication skills despite her initial opening as a bold, sexually experienced woman.

The film is not a rosy portrayal of homosexuality.

Yoon Ju is awkward about being too touchy with Ji Soo at a restaurant because of the inherently homophobic society that Korea has. A more serious reflection of the difficulties of being in a homosexual relationship is Ji Soo’s flatmate’s response lớn her coming out. Young-eun is incredulous that she hadn’t told her earlier và suggests that she’s not okay living with a lesbian woman.

Yoon Ju & Ji Soo’s relationship falls apart in the first place because her recently widowed father, a traditional Korean man, wants to walk his daughter down the aisle & hand her over khổng lồ a man. Showroom to that the fact that they are Christians- something that Yoon Ju finds hard to believe at the start of their romance. The homophobia is real.

Had the film dealt with heterosexual characters keeping the same story line, it wouldn’t have any worth. You’d simply have a movie about an over-protective partner whose lover suddenly becomes distant because their love is forbidden.

Metaphors all over the place.

The best part of the movie is probably the metaphorical representation of Yoon Ju’s life falling apart shown through her art exhibit. Her colleagues at class are initially jealous that she’s got everything figured out when she quietly works at her piece. Even the man at the scrapyard seems to lớn be in awe of her because she’s trying to make art with trash.

But after she meets Ji Soo, her art project becomes an abandoned piece with no soul. This is an indication of her losing her control over life. At times, she tries to work hard at it, but is instantly distracted making plans khổng lồ meet up with Ji Soo.

When her relationship is at its worst, she’s shown hopelessly trying lớn put pieces together to lớn make something meaningful out of the exhibit. That’s almost exactly how hard she tries to lớn pretend that everything is okay in her relationship.

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Yoon Ju and Ji Soo on their first date.

Finally, after enduring a failed exhibition, accepting the fact that her relationship is broken, confronting her homophobic flatmate and settling a break on her academics, she comes back lớn dismantle the exhibit- the entirety of which we only see now.

The final revelation of her art exhibit is a summary of how badly the relationship had taken her life by storm.

The unfortunate part of Our Love Story is that both Yoon Ju và Ji Soo are responsible in their own ways for their relationship falling apart. Initially, it might have looked lượt thích Ji Soo was turning into the victim. But there’s a lack of xuất hiện communication & dialogue between them that eventually Yoon Ju cannot even attempt lớn change her ways and this leads khổng lồ a lot of changes in their lives.

Let’s talk about the sex.

Now the reason a lot of the films that khuyến mãi with homosexuality are R-Rated is because of directors going a long way khổng lồ show the intensity of the romance. Take Portrait of a Lady On Fire (2019) or The Handmaiden (2016), both amazingly directed and written lesbian romances that go to lớn far lengths to portray the sexual part of same-sex attraction.


Yoon Ju’s sexual awakening.

Our Love Story is almost chaste compared to these masterpieces. Yoon Ju’s sexual awakening is the only part you might have lớn avoid watching with your little sibling or erm… your parents (best khổng lồ avoid that awkward cough).

There’s clearly no attempt lớn avert the male gaze in this scene. But it’s simple, just lượt thích everything else about this movie. Ji Soo is almost smug about the effect she has on Yoon Ju, & the latter is just… melting. And yet, they manage lớn make it look chaste. Both the women still have a considerable amount of clothing on even after Ji Soo has given Yoon Ju the orgasm of her lifetime & we see a happily giggling Yoon Ju at the over of the scene.

Unlocked Potential

Our Love Story cannot be called “satisfying” but it’s surely a good watch. The ending is almost too abrupt và leaves you asking for more. Perhaps that’s the beauty of this film. It is flawed in many ways- it doesn’t go deeper into the protagonist’s dynamics with her lover và the film is entirely about them. Halfway into the film, Yoon Ju’s friends from her art class are not even present.

The homophobia of the typical Korean society is not highlighted enough. This is not a big problem because the movie can be seen as a simple take on the struggles of a romantic relationship between two women. As simple as that can be, it is their love story.