April Snow (2005) Movie Review

April Snow (2005) Movie ReviewIf you’re into Asian movies even just a little bit, then you’ve probably heard of the South Korean drama “April Snow” at least once (or a few hundred times, give or take) throughout 2005. The film has been hyped every which way across the Asian continent, and its leading man practically sold into servitude to promote the movie. It’s made a megastar out of Bae Yong-jun (“Untold Scandal”), who is currently the hottest male in all of Asia , as well as being the delight of “aunties” everywhere. Mostly lost in the shuffle is co-star Ye-jin Son, a veteran of Korean melodramas despite her youth, and director Jin-ho Hur, one of the best filmmaker currently working in Korea today.

“April Snow” traces the aftermath of a car accident that leaves two lovers in a coma. The problem is that both are married to other people, namely concert light guy In-su (Yong-jun) and housewife Seo-young (Je-jin). Gradually, over the course of a few weeks, the two strangers come to grips with the facts before them — their spouses were having a secret affair, and had been for quite a while now. Phone messages exchanged between the two lovers and videos taken during one of their many encounters only confirms this suspicion. But what begins as mutual embarrassment and sadness turns into something more, as In-su and Seo-young find themselves drawn to one another, and eventually enters into a secret affair of their own.

April Snow (2005) Movie Review“April Snow” is purposeful filmmaking, the kind that has come to define director Hur’s still relatively short career. There are no hints of romance between the two cuckolded spouses until almost the 40-minute mark, when she finds him tossing snowballs in the parking lot alone at night. But romance doesn’t come easily, as Seo-young seems determined to ignore the evidences of the affair, deciding instead to play the dutiful wife next to her comatose husband’s bed. It’s not until In-su makes a brave move to silently sit down next to her that Seo-young realizes it’s no longer possible to play naïve, if only because someone else knows the truth.

Conceived and executed as a relatively simple story with a linear progression, “April Snow” has few surprises for the seasoned viewer, and it’s the little moments that make the film worthwhile, including the first time Seo-young and In-su hold hands. It’s a quick moment, and you might miss it if you weren’t paying attention, but it comes almost an hour into the film as the two make their first secret getaway. The irony of their affair quickly becomes obvious to the audience — they are replicating the same methods, the same lies, and the same ways to immortalize their affair that their (originally) cheating spouses had done.

April Snow (2005) Movie ReviewOf the two leads, it’s actually Ye-jin Son who carries much of the film with her soulful looks and pitch-perfect performance. The much ballyhooed Bae Yong-jun handles his half well enough, even though one can’t help but notice that he’s chosen to play the part as impossibly understated, and as a result is oftentimes overwhelmed by the presence of his co-star in their scenes together. After 110 minutes, you can sort of understand why In-su’s wife strayed; to be honest, In-su is a stiff. Even Seo-young’s romance with him seems more out of mutual need and empathy than anything overtly desirous. Not that it’s okay to cheat on one’s spouse, but you know, sometimes you can’t help it when you end up married to a dead fish. Not that Seo-young is a ball of laughs herself, mind you…

If the premise of “April Snow” sounds familiar, that’s because it’s the same one used in the 1999 Harrison Ford movie “Random Hearts”, in which Ford played a cop whose wife was cheating on him with the husband of a woman played by Kristin Scott Thomas. It’s revealed in “Random Hearts” that the cheating spouses weren’t just out for a good time, but were in fact quite in love, and that it was simply bad luck they were already married. There is no sense that Seo-young’s husband and In-su’s wife were actually in love in “April Snow”, which hinders our acceptance of the two cheating spouses as viable characters, and not simply plot devices.

April Snow (2005) Movie ReviewAlthough a good film, and another proud feather in the cap of Jin-ho Hur, “April Snow” is not quite as good as the director’s “Christmas in August” or “One Fine Spring Day”, two masterpieces of human drama that remains with the viewer long after viewing. If anything, “April Snow” is too simple for its own good, with no overly complex themes involved beyond the tortured feelings of its two protagonists as they end up repeating, unknowingly, the very same tragedy that brought them together in the first place. There really is no reason why “April Snow” should feel so limited in its human emotions, but nevertheless, it is.

There is actually a very curious moment in “April Snow” that stuck with me for a while after viewing. In it, a lawyer advises Seo-young and In-su to attend the funeral of the young man killed in the accident. They do, with predictably disastrous results. The idea was to offer condolence in exchange for an out-of-court settlement, but how anyone could think this is a good idea is beyond the realm of common sense. This is such a bad, bad idea on so many levels, that if it actually takes place in Korea , it has got to be one of the stupidest idea ever thought up by human beings. If nothing else, this one moment in “April Snow” needs to be seen to be believed.

Jin-ho Hur (director) / Jin-ho Hur, Won-sik Lee, You-min Seo, Joon-ho Shin (screenplay)
CAST: Ye-jin Son …. Seo-young
Yong-jun Bae …. In-su
Kook-huan Chun
Sang-hyo Lim …. Su-jin
Seung-su Ryu …. Gyeong-ho


Buy April Snow on DVD



About Nix

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Editor/Writer at BeyondHollywood.com. Likes: long walks on the beach and Kevin Costner post-apocalyptic movies. Dislikes: 3D, shaky cam, and shaky cam in 3D. Got a site issue? Wanna submit Movie/TV news? Or to email me in regards to anything on the site, you can do so at nix (at) beyondhollywood.com.

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  • Christine Salcedo

    Hi! Please consider me an avid fan of Bae Yong Joon in the Philippines and it is for this reason that I watched April Snow. I only watched it in DVD (and still keep on watching it over and over again) though it has been shown in the Philippine movie theaters. I find the movie simple yet so moving. Relationships among couples may really be realistic but as to having a snow on spring time I think it would only be possible if earth is totally endangered cause by global warming,hehehe…I find the movie quite dragging because of delayed delivery of lines or there are a lot of “pauses” yet the actors made it interesting to continue to watch especially watching Bae Yong Joon. He got expressive eyes and his smile or smirks would really make your heart go melt and crazy for him. I like also his moves or actions like the way he crosses his legs and the way he holds things especially his leading ladies (I’ve watched his other television dramas). He’s really an actor with so much “class”. He’s not just ordinary but really somebody worth respect in his chosen field of career as an actor. It shows in his acting. Actually this is the first movie of Bae Yong Joon that I watched and I’ll watch more of his movies if there is any sold here in the Philippines. I think he should keep on wearing his ring put on the smallest finger. I noticed he also wear it in “Winter Love Sonata”. If it’s for good luck or good charm, well, it really do good on him. I hope you can do more movies for Bae Yong Joon and promote in the Philippines! When my cousin-in-law went to Korea, the only thing I asked for a present was a picture of Bae Yong Jong. I’m glad I already found a site where I can check Korean movies, dramas and actors.

  • Christine Salcedo

    Hi! Please consider me an avid fan of Bae Yong Joon in the Philippines and it is for this reason that I watched April Snow. I only watched it in DVD (and still keep on watching it over and over again) though it has been shown in the Philippine movie theaters. I find the movie simple yet so moving. Relationships among couples may really be realistic but as to having a snow on spring time I think it would only be possible if earth is totally endangered cause by global warming,hehehe…I find the movie quite dragging because of delayed delivery of lines or there are a lot of “pauses” yet the actors made it interesting to continue to watch especially watching Bae Yong Joon. He got expressive eyes and his smile or smirks would really make your heart go melt and crazy for him. I like also his moves or actions like the way he crosses his legs and the way he holds things especially his leading ladies (I’ve watched his other television dramas). He’s really an actor with so much “class”. He’s not just ordinary but really somebody worth respect in his chosen field of career as an actor. It shows in his acting. Actually this is the first movie of Bae Yong Joon that I watched and I’ll watch more of his movies if there is any sold here in the Philippines. I think he should keep on wearing his ring put on the smallest finger. I noticed he also wear it in “Winter Love Sonata”. If it’s for good luck or good charm, well, it really do good on him. I hope you can do more movies for Bae Yong Joon and promote in the Philippines! When my cousin-in-law went to Korea, the only thing I asked for a present was a picture of Bae Yong Jong. I’m glad I already found a site where I can check Korean movies, dramas and actors.

  • Christine Salcedo

    Hi! Please consider me an avid fan of Bae Yong Joon in the Philippines and it is for this reason that I watched April Snow. I only watched it in DVD (and still keep on watching it over and over again) though it has been shown in the Philippine movie theaters. I find the movie simple yet so moving. Relationships among couples may really be realistic but as to having a snow on spring time I think it would only be possible if earth is totally endangered cause by global warming,hehehe…I find the movie quite dragging because of delayed delivery of lines or there are a lot of “pauses” yet the actors made it interesting to continue to watch especially watching Bae Yong Joon. He got expressive eyes and his smile or smirks would really make your heart go melt and crazy for him. I like also his moves or actions like the way he crosses his legs and the way he holds things especially his leading ladies (I’ve watched his other television dramas). He’s really an actor with so much “class”. He’s not just ordinary but really somebody worth respect in his chosen field of career as an actor. It shows in his acting. Actually this is the first movie of Bae Yong Joon that I watched and I’ll watch more of his movies if there is any sold here in the Philippines. I think he should keep on wearing his ring put on the smallest finger. I noticed he also wear it in “Winter Love Sonata”. If it’s for good luck or good charm, well, it really do good on him. I hope you can do more movies for Bae Yong Joon and promote in the Philippines! When my cousin-in-law went to Korea, the only thing I asked for a present was a picture of Bae Yong Jong. I’m glad I already found a site where I can check Korean movies, dramas and actors.

  • Ji Hye

    Christine Salcedo, I totally agree with you. Bae Yong-jun is the best actor for me. I love many Korean actors, but I think Bae Yong-jun will forever top my list.

    This movie aims to answer the question about forbidden romances. I am a hopeless romantic, so part of me wants them to be together in the end, but I think they did the right thing about parting ways because they’re already married. Even though their wife and husband hadn’t been loyal to them, they shouldn’t do the same. Love can’t be stopped, though. This movie will really make you feel torn.

    About snowing in April, I don’t think it’s impossible, considering here in the Phils. it can rain a lot in the summer and it can be totally hot in the rainy season. (may I remind you that our country only have two seasons)

    Son Ye-jin is a good actress too. You can see how she loves In-su and how torn she is. You can also see her sorrow.

    I do not recommend it for younger audience–the movie is mature–but people will definitely love this movie, despite the long silence[s] and such stuff.

  • Ji Hye

    Christine Salcedo, I totally agree with you. Bae Yong-jun is the best actor for me. I love many Korean actors, but I think Bae Yong-jun will forever top my list.

    This movie aims to answer the question about forbidden romances. I am a hopeless romantic, so part of me wants them to be together in the end, but I think they did the right thing about parting ways because they’re already married. Even though their wife and husband hadn’t been loyal to them, they shouldn’t do the same. Love can’t be stopped, though. This movie will really make you feel torn.

    About snowing in April, I don’t think it’s impossible, considering here in the Phils. it can rain a lot in the summer and it can be totally hot in the rainy season. (may I remind you that our country only have two seasons)

    Son Ye-jin is a good actress too. You can see how she loves In-su and how torn she is. You can also see her sorrow.

    I do not recommend it for younger audience–the movie is mature–but people will definitely love this movie, despite the long silence[s] and such stuff.

  • Ji Hye

    Christine Salcedo, I totally agree with you. Bae Yong-jun is the best actor for me. I love many Korean actors, but I think Bae Yong-jun will forever top my list.

    This movie aims to answer the question about forbidden romances. I am a hopeless romantic, so part of me wants them to be together in the end, but I think they did the right thing about parting ways because they’re already married. Even though their wife and husband hadn’t been loyal to them, they shouldn’t do the same. Love can’t be stopped, though. This movie will really make you feel torn.

    About snowing in April, I don’t think it’s impossible, considering here in the Phils. it can rain a lot in the summer and it can be totally hot in the rainy season. (may I remind you that our country only have two seasons)

    Son Ye-jin is a good actress too. You can see how she loves In-su and how torn she is. You can also see her sorrow.

    I do not recommend it for younger audience–the movie is mature–but people will definitely love this movie, despite the long silence[s] and such stuff.

  • Angela tenorio

    the movie is superb. i love the scenes when the characters were not talking, their body movements expresses it all. their emotion, their pain, their struggle with hate.

    i just wished i was able to watch it with sub titles ot dubbing!

    one question, what did they say in the end?

  • Angela tenorio

    the movie is superb. i love the scenes when the characters were not talking, their body movements expresses it all. their emotion, their pain, their struggle with hate.

    i just wished i was able to watch it with sub titles ot dubbing!

    one question, what did they say in the end?

  • Angela tenorio

    the movie is superb. i love the scenes when the characters were not talking, their body movements expresses it all. their emotion, their pain, their struggle with hate.

    i just wished i was able to watch it with sub titles ot dubbing!

    one question, what did they say in the end?

  • jelenskyp

    I have watched April Snow more than 10x. I can say that the more I watched it, the more I see the beauty of the movie. I am not saying this because I like BYJ, it is because I feel that the director was able to let the actors act their true self without the actors knowing it. It’s not a typical drama with raised voices just to convey to the audience their feelings rather you feel the pain and hurt through their eyes. It doesn’t make you shed tears rather it you will feel their pain through your heart.
    This movie maybe be to quit for most people but I found it so real. I consider it one of the best movie I ever watched.