I’ve been pretty vocal about my love affair with Korean cinema as of late. I just finished watching Christmas in August, which unfortunately doesn’t compare with some of the other dramas I’ve seen from that country. The premise itself, about a man who is slowly dying and the girl that he falls in love with, would seem prone to sappiness. Thankfully, this isn’t always the case, and the main character does a great job of winning your sympathy without being insulting.
As always, the movie’s best moments are in the little things, such as when he starts writing instructions so his aging father will know how to do menial tasks like operating the VCR. Or when he gazes out of his little photo shop, a huge goofy grin splitting his face as he watches the world around him. I really liked the idea of a main character who, though he knows he’s dying, still finds joy in mundane things. Or maybe he finds joy in the mundane because he knows he’s dying and wants to appreciate life as much as possible.
On the other hand, the film’s romantic element felt pretty weak and uneven. Being the nice guy that he is, he won’t tell her he’s dying, which of course leads to all sorts of drama and tragedy and pensive looks. This is especially true in the film’s final third, which begins to lose steam and just drags out in the final 15 minutes or so.
If you’re becoming a fan of Korean drama like me, Christmas in August is worth a view, as there’s enough good to offset the bad. And I can see where someone else could completely fall in love with this movie. However, if you’re a newbie, stick with Failan or Il Mare instead.