Lovers' Concerto is a South Korean romantic melodrama from 2002. The film follows a chance encounter of three individuals that blooms into friendship and love. The story focuses on the love triangle aspect, jealousy, and includes a somber twist. As an overall movie, Lovers' Concerto is interesting. It has a slow going pace and not a lot seems to happen, but at the same time it keeps your interest with a likeable cast.
The story opens with Ji-hwan (Cha Tae-Hyun) reminiscing about his life -- five years into the past. At the time, Ji-hwan was a college student working part-time in a local cafe. Then one day, Ji-hwan fell in love. Entering the cafe was Soo-in (Son Ye-Jin) and Kyung-hee (Lee Eun-Joo), two girls he would become very close to. When they left the café, he chased after them to proclaim his love for Soo-in. He also did something pretty embarrassing (beyond his proclamation) in hopes to win over the girls. Soo-in thought Ji-hwan was a bit odd, while Kyung-hee liked his boldness.
Eventually, the girls came to see Ji-hwan again. They stopped by the cafe and found him watching a soccer match between Korea and Japan. The event was the first time they spent together. Soon after, they became very close friends and the romance between them became apparent. Kyung-hee developed feelings for Ji-hwan, but he had his sights on Soo-in. Soo-in, on the other hand, was confused and felt awkward about the situation.
As the story continues, various small developments occur that place the newfound friendship in jeopardy. For instance, early into the relationship, the friends go out to a romantic movie. Afterwards, both girls recite lines from the movie to their parents with the thought of Ji-hwan. There are also moments when Ji-hwan is confused about which girl he likes, and even shares a kiss with one.
These small developments lead to the simple fact of a love triangle -- someone has to get hurt. The girls, who have been good friends since a young age, decide it is best if they cut ties with Ji-hwan. It is a sad truth that explains why Ji-hwan is alone and reminiscing about the past. In the final moments of the movie, the truth about the girls' past is revealed and how it impacted the relationship. The developments are somber and on par with Korean romance dramas.
What works for Lovers' Concerto are the characters. The leading male Cha Tae-Hyun is superb in his role. He proved himself as a capable, goofy romantic lead in My Sassy Girl. He has good chemistry with the two leading females Son Ye-Jin and Lee Eun-Joo. The leading females are also strong. They are adorable and likeable. The story itself is decent, as it unfolds at a pretty slow pace. However, there is enough from it to keep one's interest, but not enough to keep you coming back again.
Overall, Lovers' Concerto is an enjoyable movie, as it has likeable characters and an interesting plotline, and will make for a good watch. However, as previously mentioned, the replay value is limited. There is not much to leave you wanting to see the movie again, as the flow is pretty slow and the overall premise is pretty somber.
This release is given in anamorphic 1.78:1 ratio widescreen color. The picture quality is excellent, providing a clear and clean picture with minor color distortions and compression artifacts. Both dark and bright colors are represented very well.
The audio is given in two formats, Korean DTS 5.1 surround and 2.0 stereo. I lack the necessary hardware for the DTS 5.1, but based on past experience with 5.1 tracks and movies of this nature, I can only assume it is overkill. The stereo track was more than sufficient for the presentation. The tracks are dialogue driven and have limited use of the surround/stereo capability. The music sounds good; it is dynamic and vibrant. For non-spoken language options, there are subtitles in English and Chinese.
- "Making Of" Interviews (28:38): is under thirty minutes of behind the scenes footage. It includes re-takes of various scenes, including a couple of the comical ones with Ji-hwan (Cha Tae-Hyun) being goofy.
- Interviews (5:47): is a featurette with the three leading cast members: Cha Tae-Hyun, Lee Eun-Joo, and Son Ye-Jin. They talk about their characters, relationships with each other, and thoughts about the movie.
- Deleted Scenes (5:08): is a series of rough deleted scenes footage.
- Trailers: are included for Lovers' Concerto and My Little Bride
Lovers' Concerto is a sad love story about three friends caught up in a love triangle -- love that for various reasons cannot be. The story itself is slow going and saddening, but at the same time interesting as the big picture unfolds. The leading performers are great in their roles. If you are a fan of Korean dramas, this somber romance story will peak your interest. However, it does have limited replay value and may not be worth seeing multiple times.