I love Korean movies and I’ve seen many great ones. But it has been really long since I last saw a movie that really touched me and is yet poignant and funny at the same time. I think the closest has to be 2010’s Hello Ghost.
九把刀 never fails to disappoint. Have blogged about my love for him (and his books) but this is actually the first movie of his that I’ve seen.
I went out feeling tired and came home feeling warm and fuzzy and motivated at the same time. This is the power of his storytelling skills.
To be honest, I was all ready to just NOT watch the movie. Reason being I LOVE THE NOVEL TO BITS and was really afraid it’s gonna be the typical novel-to-movie disaster. It’s sooo common to compare the novel and movie adaptation and end up being so disappointed in either the scriptwriting, the directing, the cast or be really confused when the movie tries too hard to squeeze in 100000 plotlines into 2 hours.
Cafe.Waiting.Love subverts the viewers’ expectations and delivered something that is tied closely to the core of the novel and yet can be seen as a refreshing new story on its own.
(Minor spoilers ahead)
To be honest, I was kinda thrown off by the opening scene and was totally confused. I love the unintended (?) humour – 挫塞 lol. As a longtime reader who has read the original novel at least 6 times, I was all ready to scrutinise if the movie can bring out some of the best scenes in the movie. However, the totally fresh take and liberal storytelling (connecting characters which were unconnected, bringing in brand new plot lines) made me sooo excited to see what’s new that the whole comparison-thingy was forgotten.
I think that’s brilliant.
Instead of simply letting a reader see the same story in live action, 九把刀 has given the reader lots of surprise and keeps them on edge trying to figure out what the next scene would be.
It’s a risky move. Under less adept writers/directors, it may turn out to be hot mess which does not stay true to the original material and even worse, is a confusing patchwork of scenes. But I can assure that it’s as good as, or even better than the original novel (in a different sense).
There were two major twists in the storyline and I find the final one brilliant and touching. I’m sure all the viewers had shed a tear or two. Or more.
It’s really hard to be poignant and funny at the same time. Especially when 九把刀’s sense of humour can range from outrageously funny to slightly horny to extremely lame jokes. It’s hard to do the comedy part, but to seamlessly weave the comedy into a poignant story is even more difficult. Oh, he even turned the funny (ie. the cabbage / sausage / beancurd) into something meaningful and of significance. and turned it back into funny (for the cabbage).
Both sides of the movie came out strong and in the end, Cafe.Waiting.Love turns out to be like a well-brewed coffee to be savoured slowly, time and again.
Definitely in my re-watch list.