The South Korean Netflix movie 20th Century Girl was a highly anticipated release – here’s our official spoiler-free review.
There has recently been a huge increase in South Korean media with a growing audience and growing popularity in the west. 20th century girl is a south korean romantic drama film directed and written by Bang Woo-riwhich is her feature directorial debut and stars Kim Yoo-jung, Goodbye Woo-seok, Park Jungwoo, and Roh Yoon Seo.
We meet Bo-ra in 2019 as an adult, and when a mysterious tape brings back her memories of high school and her first love, we’re taken back to 1999, when Bo-ra is a 17-year-old high school girl. She is an active member of the broadcast club at school and is Yeon-doo’s best friend. Yeon-doo has a huge crush, presumably in love with a cute boy named Hyun-jin, and Bo-ra begins to keep a close eye on him, hoping to play matchmaker. However, our faithful best friend finds herself in her own love affair, also falling in love with the charming prince of Yeon-doo. Will their friendship survive this? Who will be able to conquer the heart of this young man? Is it even the same boy?
Crafting a story of friendship and romance, the film tells a relatable story of high school crushes and mistakes. The film is very well shot, there are typical rom-com moments and dreamy romantic moments like being surrounded by plum trees and sitting in the rain, but they all add up to a smooth, sweet storytelling.
To say that everything is presented as a memory and a precious moment is not as corny as it sounds. What’s Charming is a film that takes high school romance seriously and shows the complexity of teenage relationships. I know for me, I hated high school, so it’s nice to see that people can look back with happiness and almost longing to a time so fresh and new to us.
Actors Kim Yoo-jung and Byeon Woo-seok have a warm chemistry that makes the transition from close friends to a romantic partnership believable and honest. This film emphasizes the importance of being friends first and letting a relationship develop naturally – how we modern day lovers long for that.
There’s a lot of nostalgia created by seeing old computers, the excitement of creating emails, of not constantly being on a phone or tablet 24/7, and having to investigate, finding out someone’s phone number and interests, rather than just being fed everything online. You actually have to see and talk to a real person, not swipe left or right.
Overall this movie is a great watch, although with a sweet start it ends sour and almost brought me to tears. There is a little twist, which makes the love story a little sadder, and the reality is hard to digest. There are scenes that contain violence, abuse, and discuss death, so I would be aware of that, but it’s still suitable for an audience over 12. With a running time of 119 minutes, voice-over and subtitles available, this romance the movie is one to add to your list.
What did you think of the South Korean Netflix movie 20th Century Girl? Comments below.
Additional Reading for the 20th Century Girl
- 20th Century Girl’s Ending Explained
- Best and Highest Rated Korean Dramas
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