- My Sassy Girl
My Sassy Girl
Hangul 엽기적인 그녀 Hanja 獵奇的인 그女 RR Yeopgijeogin Geunyeo MR Yǒpkijǒgin Kǔnyǒ Directed by Kwak Jae-yong Produced by Shin Chul Written by Kim Ho-sik
Starring Jun Ji-hyun
Music by Hyeong-seok Kim Cinematography Sung-Bok Kim Editing by Sang-beom Kim Distributed by Cinema Service Release date(s) July 27, 2001 Running time 123 minutes
137 minutes (director's cut)
Country South Korea Language Korean
My Sassy Girl (Korean: 엽기적인 그녀; literally, That Bizarre Girl) is a 2001 South Korean romantic comedy film directed by Kwak Jae-yong. It tells the story of a man's chance meeting with a drunk girl on the train which changes his life. It is ostensibly based on a true story posted on the internet in a series of blog posts written by Kim Ho-sik, which were later adapted into a novel.
The film was extremely successful in South Korea and was the highest grossing Korean comedy of all time. When My Sassy Girl was released throughout East Asia, it became a mega blockbuster hit in the entire region, from Japan, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, as well as Southeast Asia, to the point where it was drawing comparisons to Titanic.
An American remake, starring Jesse Bradford and Elisha Cuthbert, and directed by Yann Samuell was released in 2008. A Japanese drama adaptation with Tsuyoshi Kusanagi and actress Rena Tanaka as the leads started broadcasting in April 2008.
The film tells the love story of a male engineering college student, Gyeon-woo, and "the Girl" (who is never named in the movie). Gyeon-woo just cannot seem to catch a romantic break. One day, at dinner, Gyeon-woo is interrupted by a call from his mother, telling him to visit his aunt and meet a potential date. At the train station on his way to his aunt's, he observes a drunk girl, standing precariously close to the edge of the train platform as the train approaches; he pulls her to safety just in time. Inside the train, Gyeon-woo cannot help but stare at the girl who is his "type" but repulsed by her drunkenness. Finally, she throws up on a passenger and faints but not before she calls Gyeon-woo "honey". The passenger aggressively chides Gyeon-woo and tells him to take care of his "girlfriend". Gyeon-woo, completely flustered, carries her all the way to the nearest hotel. Thus begins his comically ill-fated relationship with the Girl whom he realizes is a xanthippe. They meet each other again after Gyeon-woo gets locked up in jail over a misunderstanding, and over soju the Girl cries, admits to breaking up with her boyfriend the day before and gets thoroughly drunk, resulting in a second trip to the same hotel.
After this second overnight stay at the hotel, she begins to become a more active part of his life. She visits Gyeon-woo in school and pulls him out of class, telling the teacher that Gyeon-woo is the father of her soon-to-be-aborted baby. The Girl's mood swings wildly from joyful to downright violent, but Gyeon-woo puts up with it and lets her abuse him for her amusement.
She is an aspiring scriptwriter and throughout the movie gives Gyeon-woo three different screenplays from different genres. The first is an action movie—The Demolition Terminator—which switches gender roles, symbolically having the Girl save her helpless lover (Gyeon-woo). The second is a wild perversion of a Korean short story—Sonagi—in which the Girl, having died, asks that her lover be buried along with her—even though he's still alive. The last is a wuxia/samurai movie spoof full of genre clichés and anachronisms. All three feature the same common thread: the Girl is from the future.
Despite all the horrible things Gyeon-woo endures, he is determined to help cure the girl's pain. He decides to surprise her on her birthday and takes her on a nighttime trip to an amusement park which ends up quite differently than how he planned: the pair encounter an AWOL soldier who holds them hostage and rants about his misery after being jilted. Gyeon-woo convinces him to release her, and she in turn convinces the soldier to free Gyeon-woo and go on with his life and pursue another love.
The Girl and Gyeon-woo's relationship takes a turn for the better and he sends her home and meets her father, who is a habitual drinker. Her parents do not take to Gyeon-woo and on leaving, he overhears an impassioned argument between the girl and her mother over her relationship with him. He does not hear from her for quite some time and his life without her begins.
One day however, the Girl calls him and tells him to bring her a rose during class to commemorate their 100th-day anniversary. He does this, leading to a touching and romantic scene where he arrives in disguise into a packed auditorium and watches her play the melody of George Winston's variations on Pachelbel's Canon in D on a piano onstage. The classmates applaud in approval at his romantic gesture. As the night unfolds he is confronted at her house by her parents again, with her father demanding the two to break up.
The Girl does not contact him again and Gyeon-woo naturally thinks they have broken up, until one day when she calls Gyeon-woo to meet her for dinner with a blind date. The Girl introduces Gyeon-woo to the date and, while she leaves for the washroom afterwards, Gyeon-woo candidly offers advice on how to ensure her happiness by asking her potential suitor to follow ten rules: preventing her from overdrinking and giving in to her at every circumstance, even if it means enduring the occasional "violence". It is at this point that she realizes how well Gyeon-woo understands her. She abruptly leaves her date and searches for Gyeon-woo at the subway station.
Once reunited the two realize they are at a turning point in their relationship, but, for some unspeakable reason, the Girl decides it is time for them to part. As a gesture to their happy times the two write letters to each other and bury them in a "time capsule" under a particular tree on a mountain in the countryside. They agree to meet again at the tree after two years to read the letters together. After burying the "time capsule" they go their separate ways.
During the two-year span, Gyeon-woo works hard to improve himself, writing My Sassy Girl movie script after he details their love affair on the Internet. When the agreed upon date arrives, he travels to the mountain but the Girl does not show up. Eventually, he opens the time capsule and reads her letter and learns the root of her angst and behavior: Gyeon-woo reminds her of her previous boyfriend who, rather than breaking up with her, actually died before she met Gyeon-woo. All through the time the Girl and Gyeon-woo were seeing each other she had been seeing her dead boyfriend's mother, who wants to introduce her to a nice young man.
A year after Gyeon-woo visits the tree, the Girl finally arrives. Sitting under the tree is an old man. During their conversation the old man reveals the secret of the tree, that it is not the same tree; the original tree had been struck and killed by lightning a year before and a similar tree had been planted by a young man so that his someone special would not be sad. After the girl reads his letter, she tries to call Gyeon-woo repeatedly, but was unable to contact him.
At lunch with her deceased boyfriend's mother after a year later, the mother introduces her nephew - who turns out to be Gyeon-woo, whom she has been trying to introduce to the Girl for years. The mother, who is Gyeon-woo's aunt, tells the Girl to go out with him, hoping that he could make life easier for her. She tells Gyeon-woo that the Girl can give advice to him about his impending trip to England, to which he replies, "I don't have to go anymore".
- Cha Tae-hyun as Gyun-woo
- Jun Ji-hyun as The Girl
- Kim In-Mun as Gyun-woo's father
- Song Ok-suk as Gyun-woo's mother
- Han Jin-hie as The Girl's father
- Yang Geum-seok as Gyun-woo's aunt
My Sassy Girl was the second highest selling film in 2001 (behind the film Friend) and was the highest grossing Korean comedy film of all time. 4,852,845 tickets were sold nationwide and 1,765,100 in Seoul over its 10 weeks in the cinemas.
Koreanfilm.org praised the Jeon Ji-hyun portrayal of the character calling her the "undisputed star" and stating "it could not have succeeded anywhere near as well without her".
Awards and nominations
Event Award 2003 Hong Kong Film Awards Best Asian Film 2003 Hochi Film Awards Best Foreign Language Film 2002 Grand Bell Awards Best Actress - Jeon Ji-hyun
Best Adapted Screenplay - Kwak Jae-yong
2003 Fant-Asia Film Festival Most Popular Film 2001 Blue Dragon Awards Best New Actor - Cha Tae-hyun 2004 Awards of the Japanese Academy Nomination for Best Foreign Film
- I Believe - Shin Seung Hun
- Love & Longing
- Episode 1
- Bi nae ri neun bam
- Hands Of Time - Ueda Masaki
- Episode 2 (Bip Bop)
- Ee byul joon bi - Kim Jo Han
- Big Money - Big Money & X-Teen
- Gyuh ool na geu ne
- Episode 3 (geu nyuh eh saeng il)
- Ja jang ga (Lullaby)
- Sarang neu ggim - Jo Kyun Chan
- Another Life (Intro)
- Another Life - Deen
- Behind Of You (Instrumental)
- Episode 4 (Reg Time)
- Lost Memory
- Gat eun mam eu ro - Various Artists
- I Believe (With Piano)
- My Girl - The Temptations (end credits)
There are two scenes within the movie that have different soundtracks from each varying version, notably the EDKO and Starmax distributions.
- During the scene where Gyeon-Woo (as villain) fights the heroine in the Girl's second movie script, the soundtrack to Ashes of Time by Hong Kong filmmaker Wong Kar Wai can be heard, whereas in the Hong Kong-EDKO release the score has been replaced with a Korean track.
- During the scene where Gyeon-Woo exchanges shoes with the Girl, the song "My Girl" by The Temptations can be heard, whereas in the EDKO release the scene has been rescored with a Korean pop-track.
- In 2007 the song, "I Believe," featured a change in lyrics in relation to the short story "Fish Cheeks" from the novel, Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan. The lyrics reflected a portion of the story concerning the humiliation which the young Chinese girl felt after her heritage was set at the table of a Christmas Eve.
This American remake of the film is set in New York City's Central Park and Upper East Side. Director Yann Samuell states "It's a fable about destiny, in the end." whilst Jesse Bradford who plays the lead protagonist surmised the movie as "a romantic comedy about how they pull each other to a more healthy place by virtue of their relationship." 
The remake received numerous negative comments from the viewers especially from the fans of the original My Sassy Girl.
A Chinese sequel named My Sassy Girl 2 stars Lynn Xiong and Leon Jay WIlliams
- ^ Brian Thomas (June 2003). VideoHound's dragon: Asian action & cult flicks. Visible Ink Press. p. 439. ISBN 9781578591411. http://books.google.com/books?id=jqx4iLRjthAC&pg=PA439. Retrieved 30 April 2011.
- ^ a b c d "2001". Koreanfilm.org. http://www.koreanfilm.org/kfilm01.html#yupki. Retrieved 2008-05-12.
- ^ a b Kim, Audrey (2007-02-22). "Elisha Cuthbert Gets Her Sassy On In Unusual Romantic Comedy". MTV. http://www.mtv.com/movies/news/articles/1552947/20070221/story.jhtml. Retrieved 2008-05-12.
- ^ a b "Kusanagi, Tanaka to star in drama version of "My Sassy Girl"". Tokyograph. 2007-12-13. http://www.tokyograph.com/news/id-2246. Retrieved 2008-05-12.
- ^ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0293715/awards
- My Sassy Girl at the Internet Movie Database
- My Sassy Girl at the Korean Movie Database
- The original internet serial from which the movie was based, by Kim Ho-sik (Korean)
- Review at koreanfilm.org
- Overview at All Movie
Films directed by Kwak Jae-yong 1980sWatercolor Painting in a Rainy Day (1989) 1990sAutumn Trip (1992) · Watercolor Painting in a Rainy Day 2 (1993) 2000s
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