I was looking for a Korean movie I had watched in Chinese, but wanted one with English sub-titles. In searching, I found this, the Hollywood remake.
If I ever find the original, but with english sub-titles, I will certainly tell you. Because the Koreaan one is amazingly funny and moving, and apparently based on a true story.
First and foremost, the woman they chose for the female protagonist is not a good enough actress to pull it off. There is really nothing lovable about her at any point. Someone like Sandra Bullock could have pulled it off, but not this woman.
But aside from that, Hollywood just plain f’d up the remake.
Here’s the deal: the original involves a woman who treats the hero in a way the typical American would never, could never put up with. So they have to change it for the American version. But it just makes the female protagonist less internally consistent, and less sympathetic. And since the typical American male wouldn’t put up with the treatment the girl gives, they have to turn him into somewhat of a naive, backwards sap.
I would have done it differently. Rather than emphasizing his naivety, I would have emphasized his sense of responsibility. Instead of emphasizing her somewhat random cruelty, I would have emphasized her helplessness and need in the face of her emotional turmoil. And maybe made her more accidentally violent…
Lacking the girlish hitting, it stole away one of the more poignant parts of the Korean movie, when he gives advice to the prospective suitor, saying, “If she hits you, it won’t hurt, but you have to pretend it hurts almost like you’re dying. But if she hits you hard enough to hurt, you have to pretend like you don’t feel a thing.” To understand that, perhaps you have to understand that not every culture has fetishized “self-esteem” and gender equality to the point of wussifying men.
Dunno. That’s the way I think/feel right now.
In any case, if you’ve seen the Hollywood version of My Sassy Girl and liked it, seek and find the Korean version. It’s much better.
If you haven’t seen the Hollywood version, I can’t actually warn you away, because an unbiased viewer may actually like it. But you would be better off skipping and watching the original Korean version, and learning something about the classic form of love, and the classic form of gender roles in a relationship. That still has meaning to some of us, at least.