Aug 26, 2010|
(THAILAND) Inspired by A Day editor Zcongklod Bangyikhan’s hit novel Song Ngao Nai Korea (Two Shadows in Korea), Hello Stranger has a simple but interesting premise: a man (Chantawitch “Ter” Thanasewi) and a woman (Noona Nuengthida Sophon) accidentally meet in Korea and somehow decide to travel together without knowing each other’s name. Both have broken relationships that they have left behind in Bangkok. You can guess the rest: through a string of funny and impressive experiences and being the only two foreigners, it would seem, in all of Korea, they fall in love. For more details, head to the cinema.
It’s nice to see that GTH hasn’t lost their touch for making profitable feel-good movies, this time with a focus on the sensitive feelings of young people in uncharted territory (ie. traveling abroad). Despite being a film of many firsts—first comedy for director Banjong Pisanthanakul (Shutter, Alone), first feature screenplay by Ter Chanwitch (see First Person page 23) and first film for actress Noona, who won a talent competition to land the role—this whole flick runs pretty smoothly thanks to the natural performances. Admittedly, the first forty minutes will feel like a rerun of all the jokes in the movie trailer, and you may worry about the rest of the film. But once it gets to its turning point, there are many more laughs to carry it to the end credits. On the other hand, the sad scenes will probably fail to elicit too many tears, except from the most sensitive among us—one of the screenplay’s very few shortcomings, owing partially to the scant backgrounds of the characters.
Still, some new approaches have made a big difference to GTH’s years-old and all-too-familiar style—a new narration style, a beyond-expectations cameo character and an unpredictable final scene. Hello Stranger may not quite be the emotional rollercoaster promised in the trailers, but at least you get to see scenic shots of the Korean landscape and the film is hilarious. You will be laughing no matter how old you are. And if you haven’t, one thing you definitely want to do is read the original book.