A Muse

A Muse (2012)

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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 682 users
Reviews: 7 users

Lee Jeok Yo is a highly respected national poet in his 70s. His thirtysomething assistant Seo Ji Woo has recently published his first book, described as a genre novel with psychological insight, and it has shot to the top of the bestseller lists. Only later will it be clear how great his debt is to the poet laureate. On finding a young high school girl, Eun Gyo, asleep on a chair on read morehis porch, Jeok Yo is instantly enamored and rather than chastising her for breaking into his property, he subsequently agrees to give her a part-time job cleaning his home. As Jeok Yo spends more time in Eun Gyo's company, long-lost feelings are awakened within him, and her exuberance, lust for life, sense of fun and genuine warmth towards him quickly strip the years away in his mind.
(Source: Wikipedia)

  • Native title:

  • Also Known as:

    Eun Kyo; Eungyo;

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A Stalker's Guide to Kim Go Eun
A stalker guide for Kim Go Eun in the celebration of her fifth year of debut.

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25 people found this review helpful
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Jan 20, 2016
  • Overall 8.5
  • Story 8.5
  • Acting/Cast 8.5
  • Music 7.0
  • Rewatch Value 5.5
Probably many of those curious about this film are snooping around this review because of some morbid curiosity about the relationship between one 70-year-old man and a student of 17. You want to know how it goes? Well, I'll tell you that it's not so much that kind of film, there are inevitably parts with some sexual charge, but in my case, what I felt after two hours was a sensation of read more beauty, spontaneity and, ironically, purity.

Of course the premise is as good as controversial: two men who after an hour of film are attracted to a high school student, one more than the other. However, contrary to my expectations, the strongest reason to fight is not the girl but the literary talent of both men. Nevertheless, Eungyo does play an important role, because she is the straw that broke the camel's back (red ink involved, I warn you). And that's very interesting, although a little disconcerting if you expect a film with a strong erotic charge. What this story does have, and is meritorious, is a tour through very realistic and human feelings and doubts.
(Also, brace yourself for some graphic sex scenes)

To be honest, nothing to say "Hats off to you", but I understand why Go Eun received many awards for Best New Actress, I've seen this movie before "Cheese in the trap" (maybe a bad idea) because I wanted to know the actress, and I have to tell you that the girl's talent itself is obvious. Also, Park Hae Il is notable for his portrayal of an old man when he is not old at all.

In conclusion, in my humble opinion, the highlights of this film are the beautiful framings, the morbid-pure relationship between the old man and the student, the obvious talent and beauty of Go Eun, and that the bad things do not happen to whom you imagine (something I enjoyed).
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10 people found this review helpful
Other reviews by this user
Jan 23, 2016
  • Overall 9.0
  • Story 8.0
  • Acting/Cast 9.0
  • Music 8.0
  • Rewatch Value 7.0
Beautifully filmed and well written.

I was really surprised after watching this movie because I didn't expect much. I thought I would just skim through it and be like meh but ended up watching the whole thing and even liking it!

First of all, acting is pretty good, these people know what they are doing. All characters are well written, lovable and hateful in their own ways. But I am a little read more bit disappointed with the screenwriting in general. I didn't expect this movie to be so black and white about the moral codes.

One of the messages is that love is timeless. I like that message the most. An old man wishing he was young again so he could love freely. It's pretty sad if you ask me, that just because he is old it's wrong to have those beautiful feelings. So he pours those feelings into a beautiful poem which, unfortunately, gets stolen by his student. It's as if his feelings got stolen and sold, disgraced. And as if that wasn't enough the student also steals the purity of EunGyo. He pretty much tramples Juk Yo's heart, smashes it into a miserable paddle. I don't know, what he does is like peeing on his teacher's face after receiving all the teaching and then stealing the rest what he could. He gets totally swallowed by greed. No wonder Juk Yo retaliates in the end, I'm not sure if he really hoped for such a thing happen in the end or if he just wanted to scare Ji Woo a bit. I don't know, but I kind of feel for him. I mean he got old, lost his glory (to Ji Woo), lost everything and then he realized that he wasn't even allowed to love because that would be simply wrong. If I was him I would wonder about it too. I mean, it's love. And well, Juk Yo wasn't even asking for much, he just enjoyed her presence and the innocence. He was probably reminded of his own youth and all that...

I actually enjoyed Ji Woo's and EunGyo's interactions. I liked it how Ji Woo was annoyed by how easily EunGyo managed get on Juk Yo's good side. He constantly listened to her and allowed he to do whatever she wanted while being extremely strict with Ji Woo. As I watched Ji Woo and Eun Gyo together I was waiting for some kind of atonement for JI Woo's character. That maybe her innocence would touch his heart too and make him view things in different light. But instead, she only turned these two men against each other. Love can be ugly too. It was clear why Ji Woo couldn't write as beautifully as Juk Yo, because his spirit was confined within the society's norms and he wasn't able to break free. Too many superficial things mattered to him while Juk Yo, well he was just a poet who loved writing, that's all.

In a way, I think Ji Woo was a really sad character too, completely trapped. He struggled to get free but he was too petty and close-minded, ambitious without the talent. Juk Yo was trapped too but, at least, he had an open mind. I don't think Ji Woo cared about EunGyo on the emotional level, he might have been lonely, he definitely was and probably smitten by the poem too. He tried to live it but... how can you live the beauty of timeless love without feeling it? Maybe Juk Yo knew it, that what he write could never be lived because once the purity is lost it's lost forever.
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Make a Recommendation Recommendations

Ghostwritting/book stealing is an important plot point in both. Both have a muse figure, a love triangle of sorts and are well shot and rather slow-paced. Bonus points for bookshelves galore (more reallistic in A Muse, carrying metaphorical hints to their owners personalities in Chicago Typewritter).
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Comments (37)

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  • Reply
    Mary28 May 19, 2017 - edited

    The story was different but I wish the characters were more developed. I think the only thing I liked about this movie was how it was filmed and directed.

    • Reply
      NHK95 17 days ago

      i felt the same, it was quite original in an ocean of wishy-washy korean movies. i felt like the grandpas role was well enough, but the other two should have been expanded more.

  • Reply
    namopanik Apr 25, 2017

    People are saying it's vulgar or seem to have troubles differentiating fiction and reality. It's not. Not to mention they may or may not miss the point, by more on that later. There are 'safety filters' used to blur the age difference: the old writter, a man in his 70s, is played by a 40 years old and the sex scene is between his rejuvenated self and the girl. In his dream. In a huge white tshirts obsuring their bodies, with blinding rays of light and sad piano music.
    The twist: it's not him who makes one uncomfortable, but his assistant not much older than the girl. But no spoilers.
    Some compare it with Lolita, but I politely disagree. There is a similarity of the hero knowing a girl of this age in his past, which left an impact on him, but while Humbert Humbert is like a book example of a man fixated on a certain twisted vision from his past and in consequence never grown up, the writter here is just a lonely man fascinated by a girl who happens to still be very young. The feelings are mutual. I can't imagine things ending like in Nabokov for them, because it's not the youthfullness itself that attracts him.

  • Reply
    Sora Mar 29, 2017

    I thought the actor was actually old but turns out he used makeup. Woah

  • Reply
    darlinghottie Mar 11, 2017

    This movie tainted the image I had for Kim Go Eun ;(. The story could make a point without doing so much of those very vulgar scenes.

  • Reply
    Pakuyasa Feb 27, 2017

    Brilliant movie worth the watch

  • Reply
    bokami Feb 13, 2017

    i don't know why everyone make this seems like a bad movie
    this is one of the best from 2012 with great character study

  • Reply
    MilaKim Feb 8, 2017 - edited

    I was kind of reserved in watching this movie after reading some of the negative comments here. But I did, and I am not regretting it.
    This movie is full of art concepts. Actually it's art itself. The human body is a concept that inspired many artists to create beautiful masterpieces. Now, it depends how each one of you see this concept as art or just dirty immoral porn. I think that this is the highest method of inspiration an artist could have. Like it is mention in the movie: " People have different visions of the same object." Every each of us understands and sees this movie in their own way. But that doesn't mean some of you should inffluence others rather to watch it or not.
    I recommend it for those who seek for a little naturalist inspiration.

    • Reply
      Sora Mar 29, 2017

      I agree, everyone should watch it and see for themselves if they like it or not.

  • Reply
    nikonim Jan 26, 2017

    my feelings for this movie is quite vague... it was quite uncomfortable...from the start it had a different feeling or mood or whatever... i couldn't stop watching though the cinematography was too beautiful tbh

  • Reply
    leesara Jan 14, 2017 - edited

    This movie is not something dirty to be avoided and it definitely is not porn. There is zero sex between a high school student and a 70 year old man either.
    If you are a fan of Kim Go Eun, definitely watch it because she does an amazing job.

    • Reply
      Rangadeviii Jan 21, 2017

      Thank you for your comment, that was stopping me from watching it. Maybe I'll try ^^

    • Reply
      leesara Jan 21, 2017 - edited

      Ahh I'm glad I could help! I was also thrown off by some comments and it took me ages to actually sit down and watch it, but it as I said its fine :)

  • Reply
    Veronica Jan 12, 2017 - edited

    Why did yall enjoy this? All it was about was two old men's gross obsession with a high school student. Even the younger guy was too old for her. I'm sick.

  • Reply
    HamelinSong Dec 16, 2016

    An unsophisticated yet elegant story. I enjoyed it!

  • Reply
    VioletSakura Dec 10, 2016 - edited

    I didn't think I could love Kim Go-Eun more, but after this movie, I see her in a whole new light... such a talented young actress. And Park Hae-Il... wow... his eyes are forever in my heart!
    This movie is poetry like the life of the old writer in the movie... simply a beautiful poem describing pure feelings of a man to a woman... forget about the age, look with your heart and not eyes... like when reading a poem...

  • Reply
    Camellia Dec 9, 2016 - edited

    OMG... This movie tainted the image I had of Kim Go Eun. It's just like, knowing Song Ji Hyo from RM, then found out she did... stuff... in one of her movie. But this is worse. Cause Kim Go Eun was so freaking young when she did this movie!! Even other actresses had some age on them when they did the same thing. *sigh* T_T

    Anyway, about this movie. Let me summarize what you'll be viewing.
    First, it started innocently. Then, slowly but surely, it became porn. Then, it became a psychotic love & war, a messed up revenge love story. After that, it became a tragedy. Finally, it ended with a solemn goodbye.

    Honestly, at one point, this movie did made me think. In a standard society, a 70 y/o man lusting over a 17 y/o girl, is weird and immoral.
    Then again, I kinda do understand him though. I imagine myself being a lonely, old woman. Never been married before. A part of me hates the fact that I feel so old, and I miss the days when I was young. Then, suddenly a good looking, friendly, youthful teenager appears and he makes me feel young again. And I fall in love with him through that feeling. Is it wrong of me to feel that way?

    Call me a weirdo, but I don't hate the old man. Only because he didn't forced himself unto the girl. He didn't even jerked off while thinking of her. Instead, he made a literature out of it.

    Also, I understand why people describe this movie as beautiful. The reason is because, they portrayed something that in our mind is considered as disgusting, in such a beautiful way. Although I don't really fully agree, I get it.

    There are so many other things I'd like to write down about this movie. It made me think about aging, love and desires. All in all, I'm seriously upset that I watched this movie cause I freaking adore Kim Go Eun. ARGH!!!

  • Reply
    mei-255 Dec 6, 2016

    I don't quite know how to feel about this movie..

  • Reply
    mini Oct 8, 2016

    It wasn't good. It did well job on normalizing pedophilia though.


  • Country:

    South Korea
  • Type:

  • Release Date:

    Apr 26, 2012
  • Duration:

    2 hr. 9 min.


  • Score:

    7.3 (scored by 682 users)
  • Ranked:

  • Popularity:


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