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BoA plays withering young lover in her 1st solo lead role

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Updated : October 12 2017

It is not easy to imagine BoA -- a 30-year-old vivacious K-pop star with a commanding presence -- on her death bed.

“There’s not much I can do about my face, so the first thing I did was dye my hair black,” BoA said with a smile during a premiere of “Autumn Sonata,” a movie which she carries by playing terminally ill patient Su-ryeon who prepares her death quietly and privately.

This includes pushing away the love of her life, her boyfriend Jun -- played by Lee Hak-jun -- whose lifelong goal is to marry Su-ryeon and is baffled at why she is suddenly pushing him away.

“(Su-ryeon) endures everything by herself, fearing that her death might sadden someone else. It felt frustrating, cruel and pitiful at first, but as time went on I came to understand her,” BoA said. “I tried to empathize with how she loves and departs in her own way.”

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Poster of “Autumn Sonata”
The film, directed by Lim Wang-tae, has a gentle, tender tone that canters at a slow graceful manner.

“I wanted to make a film that may feel boring for the first 20 minutes, but sucks the audience into the story afterwards,” said Lim.
“If you were to compare a person’s life to the four seasons, a 30-year-old preparing for her death would be passing through autumn,” he said, explaining the choice of the film‘s title.

The warm pastel tone gently envelopes the viewers but the pace of the plot, ironically, seems rather rushed. There is scant chemistry between the two leads -- which may be because one is a rookie actor and the other a part-time actor.

With its 84-minute running time, the audience has barely enough time to feel sympathy for Su-ryeon, which is hindered even further by BoA’s acting. She does a passable job, which is hardly adequate for a role that occupies the screen for over 90 percent of the running time.

With the movie being so short and focused primarily on Su-ryeon, the rest of the characters, most of them one-dimensional, are poorly developed and what is supposed to be comical is misplaced.

Veteran actor Oh Kwang-rok shines in his limited screen time, as his acting delivers heartfelt moments.

“I loved the script because it was very ‘poetic’… I think it is a movie that feels even warmer when you watch it in autumn,” he said.
“Autumn Sonata” hits the theaters on Oct. 19.

By Yoon Min-sik (minsikyoon@heraldcorp.com)

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