- FILM & PEOPLE
- K-Cinema Library
THE BEAST AND THE BEAUTY
Jun 12, 2018
- Writerby Pierce Conran
2005｜101 MIN | Comedy
DIRECTOR LEE Gae-
CAST SHIN Min-a, RYOO Seung-bum, KIM Gang-woo, HEO Myeong-
RELEASE DATE October 27, 2005
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The early 2000s were a haven for romantic comedies in Korea and among the many successes that emerged in the period was The Beast and the Beauty (2005), a vehicle for young SHIN Min-a and RYOO Seung-bum and director LEE Gae-
Despite having lost her eyesight at a young age, Hae-
joo is a young woman who maintains a positive attitude. She has been in a fairytale relationship with Dong-gun, the perfect boyfriend, for three years when she finally receives the news that she has an eye donor. Though she recovers her sight what she doesn’t know is that Dong-gun isn’t the handsome prince charming she was led to believe. Nervous about disappointing her, Dong-gun pretends to be away on a business trip in Hawaii while he ponders his dilemma. During this time she meets a handsome young prosecutor who happens to the high school friend that Dong-gu based his persona on.
Echoing the popular narratives of romantic dramas of the day, SHIN plays a love interest with a disability. Even though she is quickly cured, the former ailment gives her the naive characteristics that provide a platform for SHIN (who had appeared in KIM Jee-
woon ’s crime classic A Bittersweet Life (2005) earlier that year) to craft a cute and endearing romantic lead.
Meanwhile, RYOO Seung-bum plays a character with very low self-esteem who is unable to bring himself to show his true self, even to someone who loves him, he even toys with the idea of changing his appearance through extreme plastic surgery. Like Gianna JUN’s character in Il Mare (2000), Dong-gun works as a voice actor during the day whose romantic turbulence is reflected in his erratic audio performances.
After working in the director’s department for PARK Chan-wook’s Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2002) and then as an assistant director on Old Boy (2003), LEE Gae-
byok made his feature film debut with The Beast and the Beauty. Though the film was a hit with 1.5 million admissions it would take 11 years for him to return with a follow-up, which was the monster hit LUCK-KEY (2016), a high concept comedy with YOO Hae-jin that drew almost seven million viewers. He is currently in pre-production for his third film Cheer Up Mystery with CHA Seung-won and PARK Hae- joon.
Mixing humor with vulnerability, The Beast and the Beauty proved a winning combination for viewers in Korea when it was released and further cemented the reputations of its stars.