original published date: 8 June 2021
It's been 2 hours since I finished watching the film Sweet and Sour on Netlfix, and my brain keeps asking me, "what just happened?" on repeat. So here I am, trying to make myself understand if I liked the movie or not. The first half of this review is spoiler-free so if you are here to know if you should watch this movie, don't worry I will give a spoiler warning for the ending explained.
What is it About
Faced with real-world opportunities and challenges, a couple endures the highs and lows of trying to make a long-distance relationship work.
Starring: Jang Ki Yong, Chae Soo Bin, Krystal
Genre: Romance, Comedy, Melodrama
Watch it here: Netflix
If you happen across people talking about this movie online, you might notice how people either hate it or love it. I am somewhere in between. I don't think that this movie was a waste of my time, I also don't think that this movie was poetic cinema. For me, it was somewhere in the middle. There were parts of the movie that I really enjoyed and some parts that felt very draggy.
As the title suggests, the movie was sweet at times and sour at other times. It sought to portray a realistic side of couples struggling to find a balance between their work-life and love life. For the most part, it worked. But sadly, the movie attempted to be more than what it was intended to be. The story was a mix of melodrama, comedy and romance genre.
In an attempt to bend the genre, the story lost its depth.
It never tackled the hard themes introduced in the story and moved on like nothing happened. If the first scene was melodrama, the next was comedy. So even when the couples were dealing with hard times, they didn't focus on an issue or even discussed it.
There was no point where they thought about their actions and how much they might affect the other person in the relationship. Even worse, there was no consequence to their actions at all. Both of them were like robots moving from one day to another.
Don't get me wrong, I am not calling the actors robots. They were completely amazing. Jang Ki Yong, Chae Soo Bin and Krystal were the lifelines of this movie. They did a great job portraying their flawed characters. The problem was the script of this movie that added a lot of complexities to a simple story by bending genres and making these characters look shallow.
That said, I will still recommend this movie if you are looking for a light movie to watch. Even though Sweet and Sour was melodrama it most certainly felt light since the difficult subjects were sidelined as quickly as they arrived.
Speaking from a critical point of view, if you are going to talk about these issues you need to at the very least address them. However, it still made a decent watch. It had some highs and some lows.
Whenever I write a review I know if I liked it or not but it is hard for me to say with certainty if I liked this movie or not. So please watch it and judge it for yourself, at the very least this movie was a good one time watch. Don't go into this movie expecting romance.
If you have some free time and a Netflix subscription I will recommend Sweet and Sour to you. Please come back to let me know if you liked it or not. Also, to talk about the ending with me.
Sweet and Sour - Ending Explained
contet warning: mentions of cheating and abortion
If you are a little confused about the ending, this is where I will try to explain what happened at the end of Sweet and Sour.
There were two Hyuk in the movie - Jang Hyuk (Jang Ki Yong) and Lee Jang Hyeok (Played by Lee Woo Je). For simplicity, I will call them Hottie Hyuk (Jang Ki Yong) and Cutie Hyeok (Lee Woo Je).
When the movie starts we are instantly jumped into the story of Cutie Hyeok falling in love with the nurse Da Eun. Even though Cutie Hyeok is a patient and Da Eun is the nurse, Cutie Hyeok takes care of her more than she takes care of him. Within the first 20 minutes, we see them go from strangers to going on a trip to Jeju.
She gifts Cutie Hyeok a pair of sneakers before their trip to Jeju as a couple's gift. Cutie Hyeok wears the sneakers and runs around at the airport in excitement while she waits for him to come back. The camera shows him start running with determination to lose weight and then cuts from Cutie Hyeok running to Hottie Hyuk running in the same couple's sneakers. The intention here is to say that they are the same people and the Cutie Hyeok lost weight and became this Hottie Hyuk.
The director very smartly diverted all our attention throughout the movie by adding hints that both Cutie Hyeok and Hottie Hyuk are the same by giving them exact same personality traits and background story. Both are pushovers and let Da Eun order them around. Both took a car from their parents to drive Da Eun around. Both are Engineers. Both met Da Eun at the hospital as patients. Both hate the Doctor guy that keeps hitting on her.
In the first part, we see Cutie Hyeok refuse macaron on their date and then later in the movie Hottie Hyuk says that he hates sweets - further confirming the audience that he is the same person. There are several other instances where we think that it is the same person, like the nurse trying to remember if she has seen Hottie Hyuk somewhere. We think that she realised that it is the same guy and he lost weight. However, in reality, they are not the same people.
The movie is not chronological. It jumps back in time when we are introduced with Hottie Hyuk.
Da Eun is dating Hottie Hyuk for a while when we meet him for the first time. When her relationship with Hottie Hyuk starts getting bad, she meets Cutie Hyuk at the hospital. The night she is going through a very hard time with her abortion and Hottie Hyuk leaves her to go to work, the same night Cutie Hyuk finds her number and calls her. She tells him that she is alone at home and he should come over.
Cutie Hyuks changes the light bulb and throws the trash that Hottie Hyuk didn't. Their relationship starts getting worse as time progresses. Da Eun starts dating Cutie Hyuk while Hottie Hyuk is busy at work and unable to go home. They still try to keep the relationship working but after a particularly nasty fight where Hyuk accidentally calls Da Eun Bo Yeon (Krystal), they break up with no discussion that they are breaking up.
Later, Hottie Hyuk cheats on her with Bo Yeon (Krystal) and doesn't go home for some time. He tells Da Eun to take anyone she wants to Jeju which she does.
Both the first airport scene and the last airport scene are the same scenes. Da Eun gifts Cutie Hyuk the sneakers and Cutie Hyeok starts running in excitement. This is when Hottie Hyuk finds her at the airport and then both Hyuk and Hyeok crash and fall down.
I hope this explains the ending.
Even though the ending had me scream at my tv and then start laughing hysterically, I still think that this ending was the weakest and the strongest part of the movie depending on the way you see it. On one hand, it gives a fun, unexpected twist to the melodrama but on the other hand, it makes the entire relationship meaningless.
At the start when the camera cuts from one to another, we don't want to believe that Cutie Hyeok lost so much weight that he turned into Hottie Hyuk. But as the movie goes on they kept adding hints in the movie that just makes us convinced that both are really the same person. It was brilliantly done and we need to give the credit where the credit is due.
That said, cheating is not cool.
If you are watching the movie from a critical point of view, the movie loses its charm. Throughout the movie, the couples did nothing to show that they should be together. Both were terrible to each other.
Da Eun takes advantage of Hottie Hyuk the entire time she was with him (much like what we see her do with Cutie Hyuk in the beginning). Hottie Hyuk gets a car and commutes for hours just to spend the night with her. He does house chores and drives her around. She is never considerate of his hard work and his exhaustion.
Hottie Hyuk (side note: I think I have probably called Jang Ki Yong hottie over 100 times by now but did I lie? lol) was also a terrible boyfriend. He never listens to her and only talks about his problems with her. He doesn't tell her about his girl colleague and keeps lying to her about it even when he was not cheating on her. He is also doing the bare minimum for her. Especially, when she needs him the most.
Had the writers not tried to make the story realistic and melodrama, the rest of the story would have made much more sense, and the ending twist would have even been funny.
The entire time the couples were not honest with each other, they had no emotions towards one another. Even after going through such a hard time, they barely communicate or even fight for that matter. Da Eun goes through abortion, she gets cheated on, her boyfriend is never there for her but when the movie ends we forget it all and she becomes a con artist that takes advantage of men.
"Where did it all go wrong?"
I would like to argue that the entire relationship was wrong. He was a pushover and a liar. She was selfish and a liar.
What did you think of the movie? Do you are or disagree with me? Let me know in the comments below. I love hearing from you guys. :)