Garnering various accolades for being a standout in the genre romantic comedy, My Sassy Girl entreats the audience to the comical story about the goofy play-boy wannabe named Kyun-woo and his erratic, tumultuous relationship with his tough-skinned, aggressive girlfriend, who is referred to as The Girl. Released in 2001 in South Korea, My Sassy Girl originated from a series of online blog posts detailing the romance of a couple who met in unexpected circumstances in the metro station in South Korea. Directed by Kwak Jae-yong, the film is known for the combined acting of its celebrity actor and actress Cha Tae-hyun and Jun Ji-hyun who play Kyun-woo and The Girl, respectively. Having much international success, especially in countries in East Asia, the movie boosted their careers and inspired remakes of the film in several other countries: U.S., Japan, India, and China.
Given the dual nature of romantic comedy as a hybrid genre, the audience can expect to see an eclectic mix of different themes playing together. Being in a relationship with the stubborn Girl, Kyun-woo constantly finds himself in situations in which The Girl subverts gender roles and putting him in embarrassing situations. While constantly ending up in comically ridiculous situations, Kyun-woo continuously perseveres in his role as The Girl’s boyfriend, jumping through hoops for her to be happy. In one instance, The Girl subverts the gender roles by guilt-tripping Kyun-woo into wearing her high heels while she wears his sneakers, emasculating him as he chases The Girl past groups of students and through an ongoing baseball game at his own university. Throughout the film, he comically ends up in prison surrounded by gangsters several times and as a hostage of a renegade soldier of the South Korean army. In each situation, he depends on the movie’s heroine The Girl to rescue him.
Besides exploring subverted gender roles, the movie dabbles with the theme of fantasy and time. In various scenes, The Girl and Kyun-woo will adopt the heroine and the secondary acting roles, respectively, in the various screenwrites created by The Girl. While some of these fantasy stories may take place in a sci-fi world or an ancient Korean peninsula, the heroine’s character is always from the future, evoking the theme of time. Time becomes associated with transformation for the sake of growth as the movie progresses as exemplified by Kyun-woo. While he struggles and perseveres in being the boyfriend that The Girl needs by playing a secondary role to the film’s heroine, Kyun-woo shows his best qualities through his desire to compliment The Girl’s personality while improving himself throughout the story’s progression. These key moments when Kyun-woo takes the spotlight show the romantic side of the film–as the camera captures a continuous shot of his monologue, we see significant growth in him as a character through how he becomes sensitive to The Girl, making her a priority and a responsibility.
After seeing My Sassy Girl, the audience will enjoy a unique viewing experience–one that inspired similar films that cannot compare to the original. Through the various themes expressed in role reversals and romantic moments, the audience will enjoy this hybrid drama in which they will share the happy and sad moments in the characters’ lives while laughing at the same time.