Starring: Jun Ji-hyun, Lee Jung-jae, Kim Mu-saeng
Director: Lee Hyun-seung
Running Time: 105 mins
Il Mare is a South Korean film about a man and a woman who living in a seaside house, communicating with one another through letters despite being separated in time by two years.
A beautifully elegant film that tells a bittersweet story of romance with a perfect dash of sci-fi/fantasy, Il Mare is such a lovely watch from start to finish, and the perfect kind of film to really make your day.
There’s a lot to love about Il Mare, but what stands out most about it is undoubtedly its story. With a brilliantly-crafted narrative that uses a little bit of fantasy and magical realism to great effect, the film is able to tell a love story in a fresh and exciting manner.
It’s not just an emotionally tender story, but also one with just the right amount of mind-bending narrative trickery to keep you engaged from start to finish, as we navigate the unique relationship of a man and a woman falling in love with one another despite being separated in time.
The premise is reminiscent of later films like About Time, Your Name. and Tomorrow I Will Date With Yesterday’s You, but Il Mare has a very calming elegance to it that makes it such an enjoyable watch, and a film that can really lift your spirits.
The romance is a bittersweet one, but it’s the ups and downs of the story that make it such an emotionally captivating one, as we follow the trials of both the man and the woman trying to be with one another in spite of the bizarre time gap they find between them.
It’s such a bright and innovative concept that it brings a really fresh energy to the table, and makes this more than just a sappy romantic drama, as it may look on the outside.
Bolstered by gorgeous cinematography that switches back and forth between the windswept coastline and the busy world of the big city, Il Mare looks absolutely beautiful, only deepening that elegance and calming nature which make it such a delight to watch.
And of course, the lead performances from Jun Ji-hyun and Lee Jung-jae are absolutely wonderful, with the pair pulling off fantastic chemistry despite the fact that they almost never officially share any scenes with one another.
Coupled with some brilliant cinematic tricks led by director Lee Hyun-seung to tie them together in your eyes, Jun and Lee are a thoroughly delightful duo on screen, and the strength of their bond only makes you become more and more engrossed in the film’s love story.
Overall, I had a wonderful time with Il Mare. An imaginative, elegant, emotional and bittersweet love story, it’s a captivating watch from start to finish, complete with bright screenwriting, excellent direction and wonderful performances. So, that’s why I’m giving it a 7.7.