Movie Review: Sorry I Love You


By Candace Lee

Based on the hit Korean television series “I’m Sorry I Love You”, Larry Yang’s Chinese film remake “Sorry I Love You” displays the skills of an upcoming director and actors, including model Vivian Dawson stepping up to earnestly play the male leading character of this beloved 2004 drama.

The movie stays true to its television series counterpart, weaving multiple plot threads and layering them upon one another, cutting to and fro between each of the main characters to reveal their own tragic background and upbringings that hollow out a place for them to exist in this melodramatic world. The narrative of “Sorry I Love You” has it all, from estranged siblings, extreme parent-child disconnection, warranted and unwarranted jealousy, fatal vengeance, terminal illness, miscommunication at its finest, and a main character who gravitates all these misfortunes towards him like a black hole, pulling them together for the final implosion in the solemn conclusion of “Sorry I Love You”.

Characterized by his abrasive demeanor, English one-liners and a “bad-boy” appearance, complete with five o’clock shadow and no short supply of stylish leather jackets, Wu He is first seen decidedly beating to death a virtually nameless gangster whose relation to his brother becomes his main plot relevance, as his brother takes it upon himself to devote his newly brother-less life on tracking down Wu He and enacting his revenge. The shadow underworld with which he has connections is alluded to and then forgotten, becoming a faceless group of gangsters relentlessly chasing Wu He on his own quest to be reunited with his biological family.

Along the way, Wu He meets En Sai, a rather air-headed girl who he appropriately deems “Bubblehead,” which strangely becomes a term of endearment as their love blossoms, despite his avid attempts to distance himself under the inevitable threat of his own death. He is nothing like she has ever seen—and she immediately clings to his rough personality that seems to clash against everyone else’s, and it is through these moments of violent hilarity, where the main character is allowed to run rampant through the lives of those around him, that the moments of greatest sincerity are revealed. Dawson crafts a lovable, beaten and bruised orphan-boy persona in a painfully convoluted plot, capable of emotionally tearing up for one scene but transitioning dry-eyed and carefree to the next location, the kind-hearted, bad-boy mask securely once again affixed to his face. The events happen rapidly one after another, the dramatic plot twists told to the viewer instead of shown, and this lack of pacing disabuse the audience of the notion that there is time to absorb and grieve for the characters.

The story unfolds on a linear sequence basis, and deeply wishes for the viewer to connect to the players in this performance, but they simply are not believable. The experiences surrounding their lives are too incredulous and melodramatic and far removed from their personalities. Through this respect, “Sorry I Love You” falls flat; neglecting to give these characters the weight they deserve to keep them anchored enough in reality to be relatable in any way. It is a story better left to the television series genre, where multiple episodes can be used to explore character depth and give time for each personality to sink in.

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