The Face Reader

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  • Score: 7.8 (scored by 1,400 users)
  • Ranked: #1453
  • Popularity: #915
  • Watchers: 3,423

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Completed
ayamefan13
15 people found this review helpful
Oct 21, 2013
Completed 0
Overall 9.0
Story 9.0
Acting/Cast 9.0
Music 8.0
Rewatch Value 9.0
Story: I won't spoil it, but I think the storyline was done very well. The storyline has humorous scenes at the beginning, but as the movie turns into a more serious tone for the rest of the movie, that was written beautifully as well. You can kind of guess what's going to happen, but at the same time it's written so well that you're still very much into the movie. The relationship between the Nae Kyung and his family was done really well, you can really feel for the characters.

Acting/Cast: I knew all of the actors before I saw this movie, which is part of the reason why I wanted to see it. The acting in this movie is fantastic, every single character was acted out very well, whether they be 'good' characters or 'evil' characters, you can honestly feel the characters that the actors are trying to portray.

Music: There are only instrumental songs throughout the movie, but I think it's placed in the movie quite well that it feels part of the movie. It's nicely done.

Rewatch Value: I would definitely watch this again. There are so many good things about this movie (storyline, acting, etc.) that I'd re-watch it.

Overall: I enjoyed everything about this movie, from the storyline, to the acting, to the music, etc. I'd definitely recommend this movie to other people, even if they usually don't watch historical-type films. It's worth it.

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Completed
Chocobana
10 people found this review helpful
Jan 31, 2014
Completed 0
Overall 8.0
Story 8.0
Acting/Cast 9.0
Music 8.0
Rewatch Value 3.0
I was absolutely drawn into the movie from the first scene which is ironically completely opposite in tone to the ending. If I went in expecting a tragedy, I might have enjoyed the movie much more than this.

I've seen Prince Suyang's plotting and scheming in The Princess' Man and the bloodshed that happened in order for him to ascend to the throne in place of his young nephew. The brutal slaughtering of all those who opposed him as well as the innocents who were offed by association was no less horrific to watch here and I had tears in my eyes as I watched the coup unfold.

This is one of the strong points of this movie: the way it can makes you feel numb one moment and then filled with emotion at the next. It got me in the heart and it really hurt for the characters.

Physiognomy (or face-reading) is an almost extinct practice today because many people don't believe that so much could be told about a person from his features or the thought that our fates are (for the most part) fixed and unchangeable. I think it's possible to read faces and determine some of people's qualities if you're skilled enough but I don't believe it can help tell the future. That's stretching it.

That explains why I was a little disappointed that there were a lot of exaggerations when it came to Nae-Kyung's abilities (which depended more on estimations than anything else). I couldn't fully understand some of the characters' reasoning and motives as it hasn't been clearly explained in the movie and that pulled me from the magic of the story sometimes. I have to mention, though, the amazing cinematography and directing that took my breath away with every scene.

I can now understand the reason behind the hype surrounding this movie but it fell short from being THE movie for me.

(And, am I the only one who thought the whole scene where Prince Suyang first appears in full evil glory awesome?)

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Completed
PickyMcpickleton
10 people found this review helpful
Jan 30, 2014
Completed 0
Overall 8.0
Story 8.0
Acting/Cast 9.0
Music 9.0
Rewatch Value 9.0
To be honest, an eight seems too generous yet a seven seems too low but I settled on an eight because I really enjoyed this movie more than some of the raved about ones. I went into this with high yet also low expectations. For one, it's been parodied and referenced a lot. Furthermore, the rave reviews made me lower my expectations because I have gone into a lot of raved about movies and dramas only to come out beyond disappointed.

In The Face Reader, Song Kang Ho starred as a famed physiognomist. His ability is so good that he attracts the attention of even the king and he is soon thrust into politics. The political era is one of strife as Prince Sungyang played by Lee Jung Jae lusts after the throne.

The story in movie fashion is a bit dramatised. There were moments it wasn't even Face reading, it was borderline fortune telling. As in, there were moments when Kang Ho's character just pretty much predicted the future as opposed to physiognomy. Strictly speaking, he looked at one of the character's face and told him he would be beheaded. Frankly, that was a touch ridiculous because that really isn't even physiognomy. The only reason this works is because we are in the present and the script is about the past so anything he predicts of course happens because history has happened.

However, the story is well written. It has touches of humor that are not ill placed amidst a serious and well done plot. There are some good emotional scenes that are well acted and overall it leads to a satisfactory performance; enough to even make me tolerate Lee Jong Suk. Now, I have nothing against the boy, but I felt his lack of experience and acting just made some scenes fall slightly short. In fact, most of his emotional scenes are with the veteran actors and he is heavily saved by them.

Unfortunately, I have one gripe and that is with the ending because I thought it ended, oh but there's another scene and this is surely the end, but oh no, here's another scene and surely this is the end... Oh no, not yet, then finally the end. I was honestly going, my goodness just end already. There were multiple concluding scenes and I almost thought I was in a Park Chan Wook movie because he really likes dragging the end. I mean they even do that concluding comments of "so and so became a monk five years later and died in 1456..." but it doesn't even end after those comments! Other than that, I recommend this.

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Completed
AwesomeMaris
8 people found this review helpful
Jan 29, 2014
Completed 0
Overall 9.0
Story 10
Acting/Cast 10
Music 9.0
Rewatch Value 8.0
I absolutely LOVED this movie. All of the actors were fantastic, and the story-line was amazing. I don't usually cry at films, or anything but even I cried a few times!
The music was all instrumental, beautifully done and really added to the authentic feel of the film. I only rate the re-watch value at 8 because it's an unforgettable story- and I mean that in a good way!

It's one of the best Korean films I've ever watched, and certainly the best historical film. I entirely recommend watching it as you certainly won't regret it!
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Completed
rachel
2 people found this review helpful
Sep 27, 2014
Completed 0
Overall 9.0
Story 9.0
Acting/Cast 9.0
Music 7.0
Rewatch Value 5.5
You can expect a pretty entertaining sageuk from this movie. The story is told in a suspenseful way and I was pretty much kept on the edge of my seat. I recommend it!

The historical events and figures are real, so it means the movie treads the fine line between not changing history and dramatizing historical events and people. My take is that the story tried to do two things - fit the face reader into these events and give him connections with historical figures. It also tried to expound on the character of the face reader as well as the practice of face reading and whether it is valid. This would probably explain the way the movie ended, but the story seems to spread itself thin in trying to explore both aspects.

For a star-studded cast, I was not disappointed by the performances they put in, especially Lee Jung Jae and Jo Jong Seok. Lee Jung Jae was terrific in his role as the cunning and maniacal Prince Suyang, while Jo Jong Seok was both hilarious and heartbreaking as the face reader's bumbling brother-in-law and loving uncle of Jin Hyung.

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Completed
BootyfulSwan
1 people found this review helpful
Jan 8, 2017
Completed 0
Overall 9.0
Story 10
Acting/Cast 10
Music 9.0
Rewatch Value 8.0
If not for the ending, i would give it a 10 ahahahaha, although it's understandable since it needs to stay true to the history. The plot is good since the beginning, different people have different character and the plot twist is also good. Acting is superb!!! as expected from Kang ho song and jo jung suk and all the casts here. Just take care of your heart to watch til the end.
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Completed
mobosies
0 people found this review helpful
Nov 20, 2015
Completed 0
Overall 8.5
Story 8.5
Acting/Cast 9.0
Music 7.0
Rewatch Value 7.5
This movie was quite fun and entertaining, until it got serious, then it became nerve-racking. Intriguing story, the historical aspect was very interesting, made me want to go read some Korean history books. Cast was brilliant, superb acting.

If you enjoy court intrigues, this is definitely one for you.


Be warned, just like most of Human History, its pretty tragic.
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