Sang-min comes to Finland to send her autistic son to a special camp, but she feels extremely 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 child depression and mentally unease wife. The two meet for the first time at the gathering point of this special camp. They get to have a short trip tothe camp together in silence but start to feel comfortable and connected to each other. On their way back to Helsinki, with the road blocked from 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 name...
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.
This is a movie for those who love character driven stories because it is pretty much all about the "man and woman"'s feelings and how they react to them despite their real life and responsibilities towards their beloved ones. Don't get me wrong the story isn't original, nothing new about it but the way it delivered the "feels" is top notch classic. I felt like watching a movie from the 70s and 80s I really wholeheartedly enjoyed every bits and every second of this beautiful full of feelings story.
Acting: It is not surprising that Gong Yoo would steal my heart and make my heart beat like crazy with every gaze he gave to the woman he loves. This is has got to be one of his best performances! He didn't even had much to say in the movie there wasn't much dialog for him yet he was able to deliver such powerful intense feelings which isn't really new for Gong Yoo he has done it before and he EXCELS in it. Jeon Do-Yeon was perfect she delivered those complicated "silent" emotions in such a good way I was so happy she was GY's partner in this movie (excellent casting choice). As I said "A Man and A Woman" doesn't really have new story there is nothing new here or mind blowing but GY and JDY brought this normal overused story into life and made their characters so real with intense emotions even though they didn't have much dialog. I felt their stares, i felt their gazes, i felt their strong desire for one another, i felt their longing... I swear I almost felt "there has to be something going on between those two in real life howw else can they deliver all that silent intensity just by looking at each other". Thank you for this amazing wonderful performance.
This isn't a movie for everyone, you have to be a classic lover to appreciate this. If you are into the "feels" and "emotions" delivered, if you are into character and emotion driven movies then this movie is for you. If you are looking for happy fluffy romance, if you are looking for a romance where you can cheer on and can justify then this is not your movie. The reason I say this, is because I do believe many people here are low rating classic dramas which had the same feels to this movie so I realized it doesn't appeal to everyone. I've seen this one in the cinema and most of the audience were middle aged and older I guess I wasn't the only one who thinks this is classic one :)
Thank you for this beautiful movie.
Another thing I appreciated is all the whiteness (snow) in this movie even though it was for a short time but it gave me the chills because I remembered my most beloved drama Winter Sonata (not story wise only the sceneries).
Gong Yoo's interview regarding this movie