Portrait of a Beauty (2008)
Born to a family of established court painters, seven-year-old Yun-jeong is a young girl gifted at painting. However, the pressure is on her brother to carry on the proud family tradition, as women aren't allowed to become professional painters. While her brother trains to take his place in the court, Yun-jeong helps him out by secretly painting for him. The little girl's life is turned upside down when her brother kills himself. read moreIn order to preserve the family honor, she is forced to take her brother's name and lives as a man. Yun-bok's genius and talent captures the heart of another great master of the time, Kim Hong-do.
But her daring depictions of women are condemned by the royal institute as obscene. Yun-bok meets Kang-mu and falls deeply in love. For the first time, she feels the strong desire to abandon everything she has built and simply be a woman in front of the man she loves. Kang-mu sacrifices all for his love as well. Kim Hong-do, who loved the genius of his best student, ends up loving everything about her, and Seol-hwa, a Gisaeng at the courtesan house, possesses a love for Hong-do that turns into fatal jealousy. The secret behind Shin Yun-bok's masterpiece, Portrait of a Beauty, is finally revealed after 250 years of silence.
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The story in the movie is good, interesting and although not a fast paced movie, the pace fits the story. This version seems a little darker than the drama series The Painter of the Wind.
The actors were mostly ok. Shin Yun Bok played by Kim Gyu Ri, read more was really well done. She managed to convey all the conflicting emotions of her character quite well. You could see within her the joy she had for painting, the pain and guilt she carried with her from her family, and the odd mixture of innocence and experience.
The other actors did well with their characters, but due to the limitations of time, most of the other characters were pretty flat.
I really disliked the portrayal of Kim Hong-Do, her mentor. Kim Nam-Gil had no subtlety in his portrayal. He went from nothing to all, out of no where (Sorry, I can't explain that more without spoilers). Park Shin Yang did a much better job with this role in the drama series The Painter of the Wind.
The music went very well with the movie, it swirled in the background like a brush on canvas.
I would also note that this movie is quite sexually explicit, and definitely not for younger viewers, though I thought that most of the sex scenes were relevant to the plot, so not completely gratuitous.
Overall, if you want to see this story I think I would recommend The Painter of the Wind as a better choice. The series is a piece of artwork in itself, with sweeping cinematography, breathtaking music, and outstanding works of art. The characters are richer and fuller, and the story is all encompassing and not quite as dark. However if you don't have time to commit to the drama and just want a quick movie, this is fine.