By Sung-eun Jang
“I Love You,” which is based on a popular Web-based comic series of the same name, is really the story of two romances: a budding one between a widower whose wife died of cancer and a woman left by her violent husband, and a lifelong one between a dedicated husband and his wife, who is suffering from dementia.Hollywood films such as “Black Swan” and “The King’s Speech” are doing big business at the South Korean box office, but this season’s sleeper hit is a homemade drama about elderly romance, starring actors in their 60s and 70s.
You might expect an old-people-in-love story to be a hard sell with young people, but in fact 20-somethings and 30-somethings accounted for 34% and 39%, respectively, of buyers at the ticket-selling site Max Movie. One possible reason: lots of positive word online.
Twitter is full of praise. One fan said he liked “I Love You” because it reflects on death as well as romance. Another said that original comics are difficult to translate into a movie, but that the filmmakers succeeded with this one.
Kim Soo-hyun, a famous soap-opera writer, also tweeted her appreciation: It’s a sad and beautiful story, she wrote, told without exaggeration or excessive emotion.
The momentum of praise helped turn what was slow starter — audiences were small in the days after its Feb. 17 opening — into a hit: Monday, the total number of viewers for “I Love You” passed the one-million mark.