Mary Poppins Returns
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All Critics (10)
| Top Critics (5)
| Fresh (7)
| Rotten (3)
Satisfying, charming and surprising - a film that keeps its supernatural elements grounded in reality, with the focus on the spirituality of true love.
Sep 11, 2015
| Rating: 3/5
The film, pleasing and inoffensive, often amuses as it wrestles with the nature of familiarity as well as the question of where beauty resides.
Bottom line, The Beauty Inside works for the fantastical, soft focus romance it is.
Nothing ever truly challenges either main character's conception of love in general and the person they love in particular; if anything, these unique circumstances serve only to reinforce Woo-jin's assumptions.
Do not expect a thought-provoking movie that pushes boundaries. Instead, first-time Korean feature film director Baek Jong Yul serves up a feel-good romance.
It's an occasionally touching romance that plays it far too safe.
The film's strong-minded goal to see these two stay together has enough heart to charm anybody no matter what form they take.
Every bit a magical romance that should appeal to fans of films like Il Mare with its engaging love story and accepted impossibility.
Devolves into a non-engaging and confusing gimmick.
Remember how I've said, on several reviews, that South Korean rom-coms needed a breath of fresh air from the stale and dull formula. A new perspective that would, hopefully, inspire other filmmakers to think outside the box, if even for just a little bit. Well, I can't say that this movie fills that purpose 100%. It does offer enough that is different that it might inspire other films to pursue some different elements to tell their stories, but I think that it will, largely, be business as usual in South Korean when it comes to romantic comedies and that makes me sad. But this review isn't about that. Long story short, I genuinely enjoyed this movie. The fact that it features something that's more 'ambitious' than your typical SK rom-com has some small part to do with it. If you didn't read the description, the film sees Woo-jin wake up as a different person each day. He, eventually, grows infatuated with this woman who works at this furniture store and he struggles to find a way to approach her considering the fact that he won't be the same person the next day. He could be an overweight man, an old woman or a child. He could be anyone. And the film deals with that in an interesting way, because a person like that is, obviously, very likely to lead a lonely existence due to the fact that they'd feel like no one would believe them or how their change might be perceived by those who are a little bit more shallow. The film's theme is as obvious as its name. It's about the emotional and not the physical. The film isn't as forceful with this as it might come across, but I'm not gonna sit here and say that the film is exactly subtle with its intentions. I think the movie works largely because Woo-jin and Yi-soo's, played by the lovely Han Hyo Joo, romance is actually believable and relatable. What I mean that is the fact that you can understand all sides of the situation. You can understand Woo-jin being completely infatuated with Yi-soo, since she is the only person who's able to see him as he is and not as the person he is on the outside, and Yi-soo's growing uncomfortable with the fact that she will never be able to recognize the man she's grown to love if they ever become separated for an extended period of time. This leads to Yi-soo becoming ill as a side effect of these pills she's been taken to help her sleep. There's a moment, when Yi-soo first shows signs of illness, where I was like 'oh boy', fearing that this would've led to it being found out that Yi-soo had some sort of terminal brain cancer and it would've led to melodrama. Thankfully, no such thing happens and I couldn't have been happier. The film does get a little weepy and sentimental, but there's something magical about this that doesn't make this sentimentality as much of an issue as it might've been in other films. Woo-jin decides to break up with Yi-soo to avoid her becoming sicker as a result of the pills and goes on to become more of a recluse, moving to the Czech Republic to continue his work building custom chairs. Again, there's something magical about the film, yet how it treats its characters is a little more 'realistic' than one might imagine. It's not as fantastical a movie as one would imagine and I liked that. Plus the film pulls off something that's very hard to do and that is make sure that there's chemistry between Yi-soo and whatever version of Woo-jin she may come across that day. That's difficult to pull off, considering that there are so many different Woo-jin's in the film. She's working with a different person, so trying to keep that chemistry intact must have been difficult, but they found a way to do it. It's probably great editing on their part, but I can't complain much. What matters is that they found a way to do it, regardless of the means. Which brings us to the ending itself, or the last shot of the scene, which might actually be one of the sweetest endings I've seen to any of these movies ever. Essentially, Yi-soo goes to Czech Republic to try and get Woo-jin back. They get back together, Woo-jin proposes. Yi-soo then tells him to do it properly and she tells him to go back a bit further and to come towards her. As the current Woo-jin walks towards her, and this should be expected, you get to see all of the different Woo-jins walking towards her as well, they just flash them for a second on his walk to her. Again, they're being way too literal about their 'inner beauty being more important than outer beauty', but it's a really fucking sweet scene. And it almost actually made me give this film a higher score, that's how good I thought it was. I didn't give it a higher score, but I was close to it. It really is a great ending, as cheesy as some people might see it as. But that's about it. The film has its flaws, for sure. It's also fairly sentimental. But I think the film is smartly written and strongly acted. I would definitely recommend it if you have Netflix and have an open mind regarding these types of films.
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