Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

Not to date myself but some years ago Prince, or the artist formerly known as Prince as he may been called back then released a song called ‘Sexy M.F.’.  South Korean actress Kim Hye-su was probably about twenty when that song was released and I don’t how sexy she was back then but she sure is one hell of a sexy m.f, now on the dark side of thirty.  This is a woman who exudes sexuality in pretty much every role I’ve seen her in and whether it’s natural or just good acting, I don’t know.    This brings us to ‘A Day for an Affair’ starring the terminally sexy Ms. Kim, in a film I am going to assume passes as a ‘romantic comedy’ over there in South Korea.  But being reasonably well versed in South Korean cinema, the pathology involved in this film comes as little surprise.

Our film starts with an introduction to a woman who we will know mainly by her online name of Tweetie (Yun Jin-Seo) who is a dowdy, bored housewife and mother going through her mundane daily routines that only spices up when she gets on her computer to talk to her online consort, going by the moniker of Fox (Lee Jong Hyeok), who boldy suggests they take their relationship to the next level and meet face to face.  Across town we also meet Miss Dewdrop, (Kim) who is also married, but to a man who has apparently strayed a time two in the relationship. Miss Dewdrop has gone so far as to actually meet her young online paramour (Lee Min-gi) who she mercilessly teases and abuses, but Miss Dewdrop, looking and smelling like she does, and this young man being twenty years old will gladly accept this abuse for the hope, no matter how faint, of things to possibly come (Yes, I know I can’t smell the woman through the screen, but I’m dead convinced she smells like brand new money on an early spring day).

As it so happens in wacky comedies such as this one, both Dewdrop and Tweetie prepare for their mid-day dalliances at the same hotel in adjacent rooms.  Dewdrop completely rocks her young lover’s world but Tweetie's reality falls far short of fantasy as Fox isn’t nearly as verbal online as he is in person and just wants to get to the brass tacks of the business at hand.  Eventually things work out for all involved, so to speak, as these two women are now in full fledged love affairs.  But as you can imagine things don’t go so smoothly as Dewdrop’s husband eventually finds out about the affair.  I’m guessing adultery is illegal in South Korea since the husband shows up at the hotel with the police in tow.  Oh did I mention that Tweetie’s husband is a cop and is on the job at the hotel that his wife happens to be at with HER lover?  Oh what a tangled web we weave.  As you can imagine, wackiness, mayhem and zanieness ensues as the two women and their star crossed lovers learn a valuable lesson about love, lies and infidelity.  Or maybe not.

Is adultery a crime a South Korea?  Because if it was crime over here in the states our prison population would reach pandemic proportions.  I’m not quite sure how to take this movie, particularly its morality, but this is typical of movies coming out of South Korea as they rarely give the viewer any easy comfortable way out, as the films in the west tend to do.  Morality issues aside, ‘A Day for an Affair’ is a very fine, well crafted and very amusing comedy, with a great comic performance by Hye-su Kim.  Aside from being a very good actress and looking fantastic in her underwear, Kim’s comic timing is impeccable, though the comedy maybe flowed just a bit over the top a time or two.  But this is not just a wacky comedy but also a social statement on the state of male / female relationships in Korea, which, if you are to believe this film, needs some serious work.  In particular I found it amusing that the character of Fox insists that his online conquest be married, as I assume frustrated married women must be plentiful in South Korea and married women aren’t going to pressure you to marry them.  I assume.

Now if this film were made in the west, the filmmakers would have made the husbands of our two heroines callous heels or insensitive cads but both husbands, though they certainly were detached participants in their respective marriages, were surprisingly presented as generally pleasant guys generally unaware of their wives disloyalty thus making one really ponder on both of the women’s motives to be stray.  Is it just sex?  Companionship?  Attention?  To a certain degree it’s all of those but the answer isn’t so easy to unearth. 

Skillfully directed by Jang Mun-il who keeps the action pacing brisk and the comedy fresh, ‘A Day for an Affair’ is worth seeing for Hye-su Kim’s performance alone, which are words I have typed before and look forward to typing again.

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