Intimate Strangers (South Korean Film Review & Summary)
Intimate Strangers poster
Genre: Marriage, Relationships, Mature, Human Nature, Drama, Comedy
Date Released: 2018; Based on Italian 2016 film, Perfect Strangers
Origin: South Korea; Based on
Yoo Hae-jin as Tae-soo (Lawyer)
Cho Jin-woong as Seok-ho (Plastic Surgeon)
Lee Seo-jin as Joon-mo (Restauranteur)
Yoon Kyung-ho as Young-bae (newly divorced ex-gym teacher)
Yum Jung-ah as Soo-hyun (Tae-soo’s wife – Housewife/blogger)
Kim Ji-soo as Ye-jin (Seok-ho’s wife, psychiatrist)
Song Ha-yoon as Se-kyung (Joon-mo’s wife, Vet)
Ji Woo as Seok-ho and Ye-jin’s daughter
I watched this movie late last night or rather at 1:00am. I was very pleasantly surprised by how entertaining this film was.
I found that it brings out a cornucopia of emotions, one of chortling fun, one of amazement, one of pathos, one of surprise, one of anticipation and one of hurt and extreme bafflement in the end.
Tae Soo, Seok Ho, Joon Mo and Young Bae were firm friends since they were just young boys.
The seemingly affluent Seok Ho and Ye Jin threw a dinner as a housewarming party and invited the men and their partners.
Everyone showed up except for Minsoo, partner of the newly divorced Young Bae.
It was an ideal set up to start with, everyone was happy to see each other, everyone was helping to set the dinner table up.
They enjoyed the food and there was camaraderie as if they knew each other inside and out. No stilted conversation, it was just intimate and really familiar.
With this feeling of well-being prevalent among the group, Ye Jin initiated a game of revealing the next texts, emails, calls that come to each of their mobile phones.
Everyone was not comfortable at first but because of peer pressure, all eventually agreed to play the game.
It all started rather mundane until a former boyfriend of the vet called and asking about erection. This was so funny.
I will try not to be too specific so I would not be curtailing anyone’s enjoyment factor in watching this film for the first time.
But just a guide, there is a couple who had been sexless since the mother-in-law had moved in with them. The mother in law was the mother of the man. From that point on, he would not touch his wife but instead has been sexting an older woman, in her 50s or 60s, who sends him photos of her wearing underwear in Hello Kitty at 10 pm on the dot every day. You can just imagine how perturbed he was during that dinner party. 🤪
There was also a couple who had been arguing how to discipline a daughter who was on the verge of womanhood. The father gave the daughter condoms while the mother tends to be more conservative, wanted to keep her daughter locked up in her room just before she gets married.
One of the male friends was an inveterate womaniser. He is newly married to a young wife. One of his employees called him on his mobile to announce that she was pregnant by him. 🤣 . The wife was obviously very upset, so much so that she took off her still shiny wedding ring and let it roll and roll on the dining table as she left. This wedding ring had matching earrings which were given to another woman, a wife of one of the friends. So he was having an affair with one of his friends’ wife.
Then someone was revealed to be gay. Suddenly he became rather a pariah.
With all these revelations which came with such a staccato of suspense and anticipation, I was hoping for a climactic denouement, instead, everything went back to normal and everyone had a happy ending!
I was thinking of rewatching because I am still baffled why it was happy ever after. I might have missed something, had fallen asleep, it was past two in the morning by then.
But despite that, I do recommend this film. The characters are well rounded, good acting and compelling observation of human nature about envy, back-stabbing, keeping up with the Joneses, etc.
Each person has three lives: public life, personal life and secret life.