In romantic cinema, airports are time-honored locations for break ups and last-minute dashes to declare undying love. Old Love uses this location to reunite two characters into the same orbit to rediscover what they once had.
After years of living and working in Canada, Yoonhee (Yoo Jung-ah) returns to Korea to take care of her mother who suffers from Alzheimer’s. She overhears a voice from her past as she smokes outside the terminal and discovers it belongs to her ex-boyfriend, Jungsoo (Kim Tae-hoon). They agree to have dinner and open up a doorway to the past.
The film focuses on the couple throughout and the two leads balance a tremendous chemistry that keeps the movie interesting. The former lovers languidly trace their memories of how they met in a theatre troupe and how their trajectories have recently plateaued. Writer and director Park Kiyong dwells on themes of ageing, loss and missed opportunities with a heavy heart and offers little respite from this mournful exploration.
Visually, Old Love employs a muted colour palette to match the world-weary protagonists. Park Kiyong’s naturalistic precision creates the perfect environment for collective soul-baring. The film examines modern issues of displacement and finding happiness in an increasingly chaotic world. There are occasional hints at an eventual romantic re-coupling but the story cleverly shirks the need for a will-they-wont-they twist.
The closest inspiration would be Richard Linklater’s Before Midnight, which depicts a similar setting but with a vital, bittersweet element to it. Old Love leaves more of a bitter taste in the mouth, cursing the cruel twists of fate that dramatically alter our lives. The sentiment is something most people can identify with and this universality acts as the erratic, emotional core of the movie.
Old Love does not have a UK release date yet.
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