Director: Kim Jho Kwang-soo
Starring: Kim Dong-yoon, Ryu Hyun-kyung, Song Yong-jin, Jung Ae-yeon
Release date: June 21, 2012
All queer people at some point have felt the need to keep their sexual identity a secret – and some still do – often going to great lengths to conceal their secret. Out director and LGBT rights activist Kwang-soo’s debut feature film “Two Weddings and a Funeral” is a South Korean romantic comedy film that explores this concept through the portrayal of an elaborate scheme of a gay man trying to keep his orientation a secret from his parents and colleagues.
Min-Soo (Kim Doon-Yoon) and his lesbian colleague Hyo-Jin (Ryu Hyun-Kyun) decide to get married so that Min-Soo can please his intervening parents and Hyo-Jin can adopt a child with her partner. What they thought would be a simple compromise turns out to be a difficult sham to pull off as they struggle to maintain their work and respective love lives.
This entertaining drama is rich with hilarious moments as the main protagonist attempts to navigate through his closeted lifestyle while trying to deal with the complications that arise due to the lavender marriage. But the film is also infused with emotional scenes as it explores the struggles of being a homosexual in an intolerant society. It is quite difficult to consummate humour and tragedy into a balanced amalgam, and the film’s attempt to achieve this feat is commendable. The supporting crew of gay characters, although stereotypical, offer comic relief without coming across as offensive.
The performance of the cast is praiseworthy – especially Hyun-Kyun – although at times the supporting actors appear a little over the top. Doon-Yoon plays the central role appropriately but his acting appears a bit flat in a few scenes. Ultimately, it is Park Jung Pyo and Song Yong Jin who shine in their respective roles as Tina and Seok.
Although the obvious title gives away the pivotal climax, the film manages to be light-hearted despite the sombre and delicate theme it tackles throughout the narrative. Taking a humorous approach, the drama sheds light on the pressures and obstacles faced by LGBT individuals against the prejudice of contemporary Korean society. The movie is not what intellectuals would call exceptional or a masterpiece. It has its own faults. The plot is predictable, the cinematography and editing are average, and the music is bland. Yet, this thought-provoking tragicomedy will seep into the hearts of viewers and dwell in the subconscious for quite a while. It is, after all, one of the most commercially successful queer films of South Korea.
The movie is a vibrant celebration of sexuality while also being a subtle satire on the homophobic tendencies of the conservative society. It adequately manages to convey the messages of self-acceptance, friendship and being true to oneself without appearing preachy.
“Two Weddings and a Funeral” is a delightfully flawed movie, one that will hit you right in the feels – evoking both waves of laughter as well as tears as it takes you on a rollercoaster journey of self-realization. It is a wonderful experience that will certainly leave an impression on the audience and is worth a watch.