13th Annual New York Korean Film Festival: A Beauty Within (2015)


During November 6-11,2015, the people of New York will be able to experience mainstream and blockbuster Korean cinematic hits on the big screen. Some of the screenings will also feature appearances by actors or directors of the movie. All of the movies will be screened at the Museum of the Moving Image.  Information on tickets and other films that will be screening can be found at their main homepage here.


One of the movies screening at the festival has been popping up as one of the most talked about Korean movies on the horizon. A Beauty Inside takes the literal standpoint of loving someone for who they are and not for their looks. It’s not as easy as some would think.

Every single day since he turned 18 years old,  Woo-jin  would wake up as a different person. He could change into a woman, a senior, a child, or even as a foreigner. He has learned to keep a well stocked closet of clothes to fit as many of the different types. He even has a shoe measuring device and optical measuring chart. Due to his extreme appearance changes,  he keeps himself secluded in his studio designing furniture. Only his mother and his childhood friend know his secret.  He has been content until he meets Yi-soo.

A Beauty Inside is most definitely a romantic movie, but it is more of a science fiction tale with a sad, romantic beat. This film dabbles into psychological conversation territory. To go through so many physical changes would make one question who they really are since they have to adapt their personality to the physical change. Every interaction would be different depending on who they were. The psychologic conundrum that this film deals with is how would one be able to maintain a relationship. Also, how would the other person feel?

It is easy for most people to say that looks do not matter because looks are for the most part constant. When your significant other is constantly changing facial styles, age, and gender, it can make making memories hard to retain, connect any memories to touch, or even to just connect physically.  This is something that begins to take it’s toll on Yi-Soo and becomes the major wedge in their relationship.

Just like its title, the movie itself is filmed beautifully. At times, too beautiful and painstakingly slow.  There are many slow motion scenes, lingering highlights of the face, manipulation of light; very typical techniques seen at most film festival. This was understandable since this could have easily became a light-hearted slap stick comedy. It was just a bit tedious up to the climax of the story. The ending was a bit disappointing with its predictable conclusion but I suppose the alternative is a sad, continual heartache. It was a bit irking to seen even the mother get a solid ending at the same time. The overall solution to the problem became a contrived and empty ending.

What did offset the unsatisfactory ending was how many stars I noticed that played Woo-Jin. Many of them were famous actors that I was pretty gleeful to recognize. Keep an eye out for Park Shin-Hye, Lee Dong Wook, and Seo- Kang Joon. All of the actors and actresses did a phenomenal job portraying different aspects of Woo Jin.

As slow as it was, I can definitely understand why this movie was so popular. The star studded cast is absolutely fun and the concept is absolutely unique in concept. Delivery not so unique but it had other great stuff going for it.


A Beauty Inside

Sunday, November 8 @ 5 pm

Tickets and more information HERE.



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