Occasionally, there are the movies where its setup will overpower everything else about the film. On Christmas Eve of 2008, fashion magazine “Vogue” plans a special anniversary edition by casting six top actresses, who each represent their age groups from 20s to 60s, for a photo spread. The theme for the fashion spread is “actresses who are more beautiful than jewelry”. And when actresses like Yoon Yeo-jeong, Lee Mi-sook, Koh Hyeon-jeong, Choi Ji-woo, Kim Min-hee and Kim Ok-vin show up at the fashion shoot, it makes the film “Actresses” something extraordinary because their star presence alone has a dramatic effect.
Like the film’s tagline “Here come the beautiful, strong-willed ladies”, the actresses in the film reveal their “strong-willed” personalities that exist behind their lovely and elegant appearances that we have seen on television and movie screens over the years. Yoon Yeo-jeong, who is the oldest among them, worries that she might not have been the first casting choice. Ko Hyun-joung, who played Mi-shil [in MBC drama "Queen Seon-deok"], picks a childish fight with Choi Ji-woo and Choi does not back off easily, unlike the nice girl that she often plays in dramas. Kim Ok-vin, intimidated by her older co-stars, looks for a place to hide. While waiting around for the jewelry to arrive for the photo shoot, everyone is full of complaints and what was supposed to be a beautiful evening starts turning into a Christmas nightmare.
Movie Points 1-10
If you are ready to accept these actresses as “humans”: 8
Director E J-yong said that he started planning this movie after getting to know these actresses who were “so interesting that [he] wanted other people to see them as well.” The honest dialogue between the actresses in the movie is so entertaining that one might want to see the film more than once. It feels like watching six episodes of “The Knee-Drop Guru” [a popular Korean television program that is famous for its honest interviews with celebrities] in one sitting and the hilarious conversations amongst Yoon, Lee and Ko provide viewers many hearty laughs. Choi Ji-woo, who had recently seemed somewhat unreal with her image as a big Hallyu star and as “Jiwoo-hime”, carefully reveals the stereotypical, I’m-a-big-star personality but still manages to appear more lovely than any of her characters. Kim Min-hee and Kim Ok-vin, who had smaller roles compared to the older actresses, keep in balance with the drama and pull off their parts in the film.
“Actresses” is neither entirely fiction nor entirely documentary. It was based on the script written by director E J-yong but all six actresses added their opinions and lines by drawing from their own experiences. In the second half of the movie, when conflict arises and everyone opens up about their feelings, it is all the more interesting because one cannot quite discern how much of the movie is real and how much is made up. In particular, when Ko retorts, “Have you seen how I live my life?”, it cuts through the heart as if it is something all the actresses have been wanting to say to the world all this time. And watching the 23-year-old Kim Ok-vin and 63-year-old Yoon Yeo-jeong smoking cigarettes together is strangely moving as well. Perhaps that is why “Actresses” is the first film that makes us “understand”, not envy or idolize, these actresses. Actresses who are close to us yet distant, and whom we truly loved and hated. The film opens in theaters on December 10.
Reporter : Choi Ji-Eun firstname.lastname@example.org
Editor : Lynn Kim email@example.com