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Love, So Divine
  |     review    |     availability     |


Region 3 NTSC
Spectrum DVD
2-Disc Set
16x9 Anamorphic Widescreen
Korean Language Track
Dolby Digital 5.1
Removable English and Korean subtitles
Various extras

Year: 2004
Director: Hur In-Moo
Cast: Kwon Sang-Woo, Ha Ji-Won, Kim In-Kwon, Kim In-Moon, Kim Seon-Hwa
The Skinny: Yep, even more Korean romantic comedy. Someday actually comparing all these movies will prove to be as pointless as deciding who makes the best brand of cotton swab. For now, Love, So Divine is average stuff that's nowhere near as good as some of its contemporaries (My Sassy Girl, Please Teach Me English). Still, it's better than 100 Days with Mr. Arrogant.
by Kozo:

     If someone were to ask me why I'm watching so many Korean romantic comedies, the likely response would be: I dunno. Perhaps I'm looking for something glossy with pretty Asian faces, or am just a silly sap at heart. Or maybe I'm just looking for the next My Sassy Girl. My latest attempt: Love, So Divine. Like many of its predecessors, it's got one girl, one guy, and a loaded situation that makes romance seem unlikely or just plain wrong. In this case, the love is between a fledgling Catholic priest (hunky Kwon Sang-Woo) and your typical sassy Korean female (sexy Ha Ji-Won). Their love is forbidden because, duh, he's supposed to be a Catholic priest. But they'll find a way, won't they? Of course they will! It's a Korean romantic comedy! If you really care about the quality of this film, you can continue reading. Otherwise, base your decision on the hotness of the two leading actors, and then go from there. I'm sure you'll make the right decision.
      Kwon Sang-Woo is Kim Kyu-Sik, a likable seminarian (that is, a student at a seminary) who gets exiled when he messes up during his ordainment. He's sent for a month of service out in the sticks with buddy Seon-Dal (chubby Kim In-Kwon AKA the official comedy relief of the film), but problems crop up immediately. He gets into an accidental compromising position with the sexy and sassy Yang Bong-Hee (Ha Ji-Won), who's come from America to visit her Catholic priest uncle. But her main purpose is to reunite with her current boyfriend, who's not buying what she's selling. Maybe he's found someone else, or maybe he saw 100 Days with Mr. Arrogant and discovered that Ha Ji-Won is prone to overacting and relentless mugging. Nonetheless, he spurns her and she's stuck in rejectville. Soon she's getting on Kyu-Sik's nerves, which threatens to turn the docile Catholic priest to the dark side. But he's given a mission: get Bong-Hee baptized before his next ordainment, and maybe he'll be able to save the world, or something like that. Given the loaded premise, creating peace in the Middle East would seemingly be an easier task.
     Ah, but this is a Korean romantic comedy, meaning that the struggle to get these two sparring, mismatched types together can easily fit into a two-hour marathon of cloying plot devices, manufactured emotion, and delayed audience gratification. And...that's exactly what Love, So Divine is! While the film does amuse with random pratfalls and the occasional bit of situation comedy, overall Love, So Divine rides its photogenic stars for all they're worth—which is actually quite a bit. Kwon Sang-Woo cuts a dashing figure in his priest's frock, and is as likably lovelorn as he is handsome. Ha Ji-Won is pretty and of course sassy, and also manages to appear serious on more than one occasion too. The degree of your cinematic enjoyment likely hinges on how much you enjoy watching the two spar and make eyes at one another, which—if you actually watch this film—is quite a lot. If faux romantic comedy fighting and moony gazes of lovelorn longing are what you're here for then you'll get it. Big time.
     Other than that, there's not much one can say about Love, So Divine. The genre itself isn't given to much originality or surprise, and this film certainly doesn't break the mold. Very little is done to make the characters more than your standard romantic comedy types. It's like someone wrote a minor story treatment, managed to snare both Kwon Sang-Woo and Ha Ji-Won, and said, "No more work necessary! The stars are our meal ticket! It's money in the bank!" Well...they were probably right. While unsurprising and only mildly involving, Love, So Divine manages to be suitable stuff for the easily satiated, and primo date material for those looking to cuddle for two hours. One word of warning: you may want to skip past the egregious choir performance/pop number that occurs midway through the film. It's supposed to be a "bonding" moment for the sparring protagonists, and a demonstration of the warm friendship of these Catholic brothers and sisters. Maybe it accomplishes those things inside the film, but on this side of the screen it only stops the movie cold, and frankly makes me cringe in embarrassment. If this happens in more Korean romantic comedies, I may have found a reason to stop watching them. (Kozo 2004)

image courtesy of Copyright 2002-2017 Ross Chen