Mun Ho and Seon Yeong are a couple engaged to be married who pull over at a rest stop on their way to meeting Mun Ho’s parents. When Mun Ho returns to the car with coffee, he finds the car door flung open in the pouring rain with the engine still running – his fiancée is nowhere to be found. Her cell phone is switched off. All that’s left behind is her hair clip on the floor of the restroom.
In a desperate attempt to find his missing fiancée, Mun Ho rushes back to her apartment only to discover that it’s been cleared out. Trying to reach a co-worker or someone with information, he finds her employers don’t even exist. As he delves deeper, Mun Ho begins to realize that the woman he loves is not at all who he thought her to be.
Mun Ho enlists his cousin, former detective, Jong Geun, for help. While initially accepting the job to earn some extra cash, Jong Geun finds that piecing together the shards of this woman’s puzzle produces a horrifying picture.
(Source: CJ Entertainment)
~~ Based on the novel "Kasha" (All She Was Worth) by Japanese writer Miyabe Miyuki.
Cast & Credits
Lee Sun Gyun, as usual played his role as Moon Ho exceptionally well. You had no doubts of the deep love and under despair he was feeling as he not only did not know where his fiancee, Seon Yeong, played by Kim Min Hee was but as he researched and followed one lead after another, the story that unfolded turns out to be pretty, pretty...I'm not going to say, you have to watch the movie.
But Min Hee as Seon Yeong was extraordinary. I believe that her love for Moon Ho was genuine; however, her actions only reflected her deep desperation.
Sad movie but very well done. Not too often that I can say: I don't condone but I truly, truly understand.
Though the movie focuses on the mystery, I was left wondering about the character development. In several scenes Lee Sun-Kyun’s character shows his frustration but the impact of these scenes felt flat for me. Their relationship as a couple is seen in a few quick scenes and so little is shown of his fiancé in the beginning it was difficult for me to connect emotionally with her disappearance. While I was curious as to why she disappeared, I didn’t feel the angst of it.
The driving force of the movie is the history and motivation of Kim Min-hee’s character. Her portrayal of the fiancé was excellent. Kim Min-hee plays her in such an emotional and multi-layered way I would have liked to have seen more. In particular, there was one flashback scene of Min-hee’s I found riveting. Instead of intense scenes like this, additional time is given to the detective work. The film is based on the Japanese crime novel, All She was Worth by Miyuki Miyabe and as an adaptation of a crime novel this makes sense. While interesting, I would have preferred to watch more than the brief and scattered scenes involving Kim Min-hee and definitely more scenes with her and Lee Sun-Kyun.
Nevertheless, what I believed to be lack of character development may have been artistic license to intensify the mystery. Though you see the fiancé, it is just enough that she becomes an enigmatic figure. Whether this is intentional or the acting abilities of Kim Min-hee were squandered is debatable.
Either way, Helpless is an intricately told mystery with a good mixture of psychological thriller and suspense. It’s a good watch and kept me guessing about the mysterious fiancé and how the story would play out.