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Review of ‘Heartbreak Library’ starring Eugene and Lee Dong Wook

May 31, 2010

Just finished watching Heartbreak Library, and I have to tell you I’m left feeling rather confused.

When I heard about this moving coming out back in 2008, I was intrigued by the synopsis:

Eun-soo, a librarian watches for book vandalism that currently happens in the library. One day, she catches Jun-oh tearing off certain page of books. Eun-soo accuses him of vandalism but soon discovers the complex story behind his actions. Jun-oh’s girlfriend suddenly leaves him with only a mysterious note. “Look up page 198”. Jun-oh’s girlfriend was a bibliophile and she checked out books regularly at the library. Jun-oh goes to the library and tears out page 198 from every book he comes in touch. As Eun-soo has just broken up, she gives him an advice saying that he has to let her go if she really meant it. However, looking at Jun-oh torn apart by his love, Eun-soo starts to help him decipher the messages on page 198 of all the books. (Via hancinema)

To watch or not watch? If I could do it over again, I’d say DON’T watch because there wasn’t enough substance to this movie. There was so much potential, and so many ideas introduced that seemed promising… but no there was no delivery. A lot of aspects were seemingly pointless!

First off, let’s talk about the movie poster. This annoys me more than the movie, and I’ll tell you why: It’s completely unrelated. Eugene’s character, Eun-soo has long hair throughout the entire film, and Eun-soo and Lee Dong Wook’s character, Jun-oh, never progress far in their romantic relationship because they’re busy working out other issues in their lives (which is fine, but way to false advertise with a kiss right on the poster).

Back to pointless aspects though: There were a lot of characters and concepts introduced that never amounted to anything. For instance, Eun-soo eats lunch with a particular person occasionally. She chatters forever about this and that issue, but she really has no purpose that I could tell. At one point, Jun-oh is connected with gangsters, but it’s never explained FULLY why they were so important to his life. It’s hard to talk about all this without spoiling anything, but it was a bit frustrating.

Really though, the movie wasn’t hard to watch. It was rather sweet and enjoyable… I just can’t believe there were so many loose ends they never tied up. It was produced in a rather philosophical way, which annoyed me because it gave them excuses to stick things in that really added nothing to the plot. Even the main thing the story arranged itself around, the page 198, never got cleared up fully (tell me if that’s not extremely difficult to handle after watching a whole movie!).

It wasn’t bad, but phew. I feel like a lot of Korean movies can be like this. Is it a cultural thing that I don’t get? I love a lot of them, but with the movies that try to be kind of sad and poignant, all I find is that they try to be vague and confusing. Ah, I didn’t mind watching it, but I wouldn’t recommend it unless you just want to stare at Lee Dong Wook’s mournful face for a bit.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. NyNy permalink
    June 1, 2010 1:39 pm

    Sounds interesting.

    By the way, poll results have come in and I have a new poll up:

    And I need your opinion on Interracial Relationships:

  2. October 30, 2010 9:57 am

    Same here…at the end of the movie, I had many unanswered questions. I was drawn to the movie because of the suspense factor but i felt really cheated… what was written on pg 198? was the postcard written before the accident or at the deathbed? during the trip to temple, who left the tablet there? was it the work of eun-soo? at the last minute of the film, Jun-oh was holding a letter or something? what was it? the movie somehow doesn’t make sense to me. I was expecting some smart surprises….but such a disappointment…. i’m still searching for other reviews of this movie to find an answer….looks like there won’t be one. Sigh… anyway thanks for your post….i feel less alone =)

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