k-movie · review

20th Century Girl Is The Cryfest You Expect But For What?!

As we had a small reunion during February we took the time to finally watch some of the movies we have wanted to watch for a while up first was Netflix’s 20th Century Girl.

Oh my, I think I feel mentally stable enough to finally write this review. I can’t believe Una and I finally got to hang out together again and while we were at it we got the chance to watch and enjoy a couple of movies! 20th Century Girl had been on our to watch-together-list since it came out and since I was avoiding watching this alone (shared pain is half the pain) it was the perfect time to watch it while we were being emotional already. The movie is pretty much known for being sad despite that I was still deluding myself into thinking there would be a happy ending. Without further ado let’s get into the review.

20th Century Girl summary via MDL: In 1999, a teen with a heart of gold begins keeping close tabs on a popular classmate as a favor to her smitten best friend. Bo Ra is 17-year-old high school student. She is good at taekwondo and has a bright and positive personality. She is also a member of the broadcasting club at her school. Woon Ho is a member of the same broadcasting club. Bo Ra is best friends with Yeon Du, who attends the same school. Yeon Du has a crush on Hyun Jin. She asks Bo Ra to find out everything about Hyun Jin and goes to the U.S. to have heart surgery. After that, Bo Ra begins to observe Hyun Jin closely and she falls in love with him.

Source: Quora

When I look back at 20th Century Girl and what kind of movie it was I have to say it was quite a lot of fun in the beginning. We got some kind of rom-com teen movie vibes and it had its comedic moments (Baek Hyunjin absolutely carrying the humor in this drama). I really enjoyed the entire chemistry of the cast and their interplay. In the beginning 20th Century Girl is truly just a little bit of silly fun. It all changes though when Bora’s friend comes back and Una and I were literally screaming at the screen. There were tropes at play people that I absolutely despite and that make my blood boil. Honestly if you are best friends you should be able to tell your friend who you like without having to overthink it. I don’t want to blame either one of the girls in this situation but Yeondoo did get on my nerves at some point because I am petty like that.

Anyway, the girls do come around and we get fluffy hopeful romance clips just to be absolutely completely destroyed at the end. 20th Century Girl will destroy you and I want to apologise to Una for having to deal with me almost ugly crying and sobbing, I was trying hard not too but damn did I want to scream into my pillow. The biggest thing 20th Century Girl does though is not explain itself and that makes it so hard to come to terms with things. Why is no one explaining as to when, where, and how and we just get some raw info that will make you sad? Is it lazy writing or genius? I am not entirely sure but I am not able to move on from it. I feel like we deserved a little bit more here from the writer and from Bora because she comes a bit too quickly to terms with things.

Source: Tumblr

Overall, I think 20th Century Girl is a good watch, the cinematography is nice, the cast is doing their job very well – old and young versions of the characters are acting!!! – the male leads are looking great and the chemistry is really there with all of the cast members. I just wish the end would have given us a little bit more closure in every regard and for every character. 20th Century Girl left us hanging there. I also would say watch this movie with a friend it makes for some nice bonding time and you can both be destroyed together.

P.S: I need Byeon Woo Seok to lead a juicy little drama.

Whew, this was a long time coming. Lina and I promised we would watch this when we’re together and February blessed us with exactly that! I’ve somehow managed to avoid all the major spoilers of the movie but one thing was impossible to avoid – the fact that 20th Century Girl has a sad ending. Now, the question was, how sad would it be and why? The screenwriter decided to absolutely traumatize us with her writing debut and I hope both sides of her pillow are hell hot tonight. Take that. Jokes aside, 20th Century Girl does actually offer quite a lot despite its heartbreaking ways. Lina already shared her two cents and I agree on most of them with her but let me review it a bit as well. Let’s go.

Source: rubylane on Tumblr

First of all, the directing was stunning. I really love the way the colours changed throughout the movie, how much the camera plays with angles, zoomed in shots and camera-lenses-viewpoint because it made it so interesting to watch, at least from the aesthetic perspective. I always enjoy the whole idea of having a sort of movie setting inside of a movie and 20th Century Girl made this very enjoyable. Another thing is that the camera definitely loves Byun Wooseok because you feel glued to the screen whenever his beautiful face appears. I am a sucker for gentle male auras and that’s exactly what his character in 20th Century Girl had – you could tell he was a nice guy and someone who wouldn’t be that afraid to show love. Even though he’s the male lead, he still managed to steal the spotlight more often than not, both for his character’s sweet vibe and his chemistry with the rest of the cast.

It’s needless to say that Kim Yoojung did such an excellent job with her character as well. It’s amazing to see how much she’s grown in every way since I’ve first seen her in Moonlight Drawn By Clouds and I really loved her character in 20th Century Girl too. You can tell she’s a sweet person who cares about her family, friends and those around her. She wasn’t annoying even during her questionable teen moments for me and I think Km Yoojung was perfect for this role. Out of the supporting characters, my biggest surprise ended up being Park Jungwoo’s Hyun Jin who was a surprisingly nice character of his own. You’d think he would be a massive playboy but he’s not only hilarious – like Lina said, he carried the comedy – but also a nice person who cares for his friends and doesn’t let his pride get in the way of his friendship. Respect. While Yeon Doo might’ve been slightly irritating at times, I feel like you can’t get too mad at teenagers and their questionable ways and I feel like she redeemed herself by putting her friendship with Bo Ra first in the end. I love a good sismance and I will take it despite youthful flaws.

The plot is easy to follow, enjoyable and heart-fluttering with loads of sweet and funny moments but also some heartfelt ones that will tug on your heartstrings. However, like Lina said, the ending was just bizarre. You get no explanations what so ever and for some reason the adult version of Bo Ra seems like she doesn’t even want any which is also… peculiar considering the way she was acting just a few years before the ending. They gave us Ong Seungwu there and called it a day. Me as a director honestly. Jokes aside, the ending really is sad and there’s no way around it. Grab those tissues and make sure your friend doesn’t choke on her sobs like mine almost did. Hang in there, it’s worth it for about 70% of the movie and the cast’s amazing chemistry.

Header Image Source: Netflix


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