Sang Min comes to Finland to send her autistic son to a special camp. She feels so alienated in snow covered-white Helsinki. Ki Hong is an architect working in Finland on dispatched duty. His family is not so perfect either with a daughter having depression and a mentally unstable wife. The two meet for the first time at the gathering point of this special camp. They get to have a short trip to the camp together in silence but start to feel comfortable and connected to each other. On their way back to Helsinki, with the road blocked by heavy snow, Sang Min and Ki Hong are isolated in a cabin by the forest and lake. Carried away by irresistible passion, they spend a night together. But the next day, they go separate ways without asking each other’s names… (Source: KoBiz) Edit Translation
Where to Watch A Man and a Woman
Cast & Credits
What I got, however, was a very real story of broken individuals with difficult family lives who deal with very believable and relatable situations just trying to figure things out as best they can. There is no antagonist in this piece other than life itself.
In the first half of the movie, we see Jeon Do-Yeon playing a very stoic mother of a mentally handicapped boy who we later learn seems to be the glue that is holding her marriage together. Once she is back on home ground, however, we see her in a different light as she is successfully running her family fashion line and seems more confident that she was in Finland. The moral conflict caused by the affair is more apparent in her character and she portrays the hesitation very well.
Gong Yoo’s character is one that pleasantly surprised me here. Granted I am biased with all matters Yoo, however he lost points when choosing to depict an adulterous father of a depressed child and mentally unstable wife. This role portrayed by any other actor would have come across as sleazy and stalker-ish but with him there is an innocence and vulnerability that oddly makes you root for him and the couple.
Finland itself seems to be a character in the movie as it visually depicts the isolation felt by our protagonists as well as the lack of any warmth in their current relationships. I could go on about the symbolic significance of the sauna in the woods, the hotel suites where our couple has their trist or their train ride in the second half of the movie but that would take forever.
If you are looking for a bubbly romance or are watching with boxes of tissue ready at hand, then this may not be the one for you. If however, you want to see the world from an alternative point of view or just really feel something down to your soul, then I highly recommend this movie.
It is about the area of tension between longing, choices in life, accountability and responsibility."A Man and a Woman" is emotionally profound, yet subtly leading into intimate depths where it hurts, too. There are no pink ribbons. And the intimate encounter of two souls does not miraculously sort out the problems of the world in a groundbreaking way. Life is difficult. There are also unexpected beautiful moments. But life remains difficult. Is that why it's bad? Only bad? "A Man and a Woman" paints a portrait of two people who have careers of their choice and families - but life is still no lollipop. It is about having an affair. It is about wanting another life. It is about the area of tension between longing, choices in life, accountability and responsibility.