With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013
With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

ACF 042: 200 Pound Beauty

Hanna (actress Kim Au-jung)

"Jenny" (actress Kim Au-jung)

"Jenny" and Han Sang-jun (actor Ju Jin-mo)

200 Pound Beauty / Minyeo-neun goerowo
Korea 2006
New York Korean Film Festival 2007
North American Premiere
An ACF Preview Review

Hanna is what's sometimes referred to as a "plus-size woman." This is, of course, a polite way of saying that she's enormous. Because of her girth, she doesn't have much in the way of romantic prospects, or great job opportunities.

She does phone sex from home and sings at packed music concerts. The hook is that, since she's "talented, but ugly and fat," she can only sing from backstage, providing the voice for pop star Ammy, who is "untalented but gorgeous and sexy."

Hanna has a major crush on handsome producer Han Sang-jun. When she overhears him tell Ammy that they must be nice to her so that she will keep providing Ammy's "voice," she realizes that he will never really care for her, because of her looks.

After one attempt at extreme action fails, she blackmails a doctor into giving her extensive head-to-toe plastic surgery. (Plastic surgery also was a major plot device of Kim Ki-duk's film Time / Shi gan, also released in 2006.) After a year she returns as "Jenny" and tries out for the still vacant position of providing Ammy's singing voice. But now she herself is not just talented, but also gorgeous and sexy, and Sang-jun wants to present her as "herself."

There's some consideration of such serious issues as identity, self-confidence, and the relative importance of physical appearance, but 200 Pound Beauty is essentially a light-hearted romantic comedy that works really well.

Actress Kim Au-jung, who in my opinion often bears an uncanny resemblance to Taiwanese/Hong Kong actress Hsu Chi (a.k.a. Qi Shu), won the 2007 Korean Grand Bell Award (the main and official South Korean film award) for this performance, and deservedly so. She maintains both physical and personality traits she exhibited while in a fat suit as Hanna after the character is transformed into the svelte and drop-dead gorgeous Jenny.

Some of the credit for this also must go to writer/director Kim Yong-hwa. He's really delivered the goods in this, his second film, and he clearly has a great future. He will be present for Q&A sessions after the August 24th and 27th screenings. For screening dates and times, click here.

200 Pound Beauty gets a 3.5 out of 4 star ACF rating (Highly recommended).

The New York Korean Film Festival 2007 is presented by Helio. >

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