Twenty (스물; Seumul) is a 2015 South Korean coming-of-age film starring Kim Woo-bin, Lee Junho and Kang Ha-neul. It was written and directed by Lee Byeong-heon.
Luckily had the time to spend New Year’s Eve at home–and after the countdown to 2018 while jumping like an idiot (it’s some sort of tradition in my country to do this; they say when you jump at New Year’s Eve you may grow taller – haha), the colorful fireworks, loud dance music, karaoke sessions, watching MBC gayo daejun on my laptop, and while drinking makgeoli (rice wine) with my sister–I was happy that I chose this movie to start 2018 with!
I had so many laughs while watching this movie with my sister and I couldn’t have been any more satisfied with my choice. The trio was just perfect at what they do and Kim Woo Bin, for most part, was the biggest shock of my life after watching this movie. I love him but this movie made me love the man even more. Oh gosh.
As a second mention, let’s not forget Kang Ha Neul giving another hilarious vibe and me not recognizing Lee Junho (from the boyband 2PM). I didn’t think Junho would look that normal, but hey it was my first time seeing him act.
Anyway, to give you a full review of the said crack movie, below are a few facts and my thoughts about the piece!
Kim Woo-bin as Chi-ho
Lee Junho as Dong-woo
Kang Ha-neul as Kyung-jae
Jung So-min as So-min
Jung Joo-yeon as Eun-hye
Min Hyo-rin as Jin-joo
Lee Yu-bi as So-hee
Chi-ho, Kyung-jae and Dong-woo are best friends who’ve just graduated from high school and turned 20. Chi-ho is an unemployed player living in the moment and whose number one priority is dating and chasing women. Kyung-jae is a goody-two-shoes university student whose goal is to get accepted at a corporate job; he’s extremely shy around girls, but completely transforms when he gets drunk. And happy-go-lucky Dong-woo dreams of becoming a cartoonist, but when his family goes bankrupt, he’s forced to become the breadwinner and take on several part-time jobs.
The film brings us to the lives of three boys transitioning from high school to their 20s. Three boys–Kyung Jae, Chi Ho, and Dong Woo–who barely have a clue what the real world was like after they graduate high school and enter another chapter in their books that is far from what they imagine it to be.
The story starts with the three of them meeting in high school and unfortunately falling for the same girl, Somin (Jung So Min). They had approached the girl differently; with Chi Ho (Kim Woo Bin) winning her heart in the most comical way (no way spoiler!). Chi Ho and Dong Woo ends up getting in a fight because of her, but eventually the three of them find themselves stuck together after that and doing crazy things.
Post-high school, Kyung Jae’s (Kang Ha Neul) voice over directs us to the different paths that each of them chose right after. Out of the trio, he was the one that took the normal route–getting into college for a degree. This might be well explained by his character; shy, bookish nerd, that has always followed the standards of life. To simplify it, he’s the type of person who always stayed in the safe zone.
However, this all changes as soon as he is plunged into the first step to the transition to adulthood–drinking with college classmates. There, he gets himself drunk, lays eyes on his pretty upperclassman, Jin Joo (Min Hyo Rin), and instantly falls head over heels for her.
Unfortunately, things doesn’t go smoothly for the academic, Kyung Jae. Just when he thought meeting Jin Joo again was fate, that she even asked him to ride in her car, and that she remembered who he is, he’s served the truth of his popularity by his friend and showed him a humiliating video of him inebriated that has surfaced online.
Luckily, his embarrassing video didn’t stop him and Jin Joo from becoming close, especially that Jin Joo is in fact impressed of how the shy Kyung Jae can suddenly turn into a bold person when drunk. That he has the guts to say what he wants to say, though it was the truth and that the truth isn’t the norm.
They spend more time together as the time goes by, with Kyung Jae following her like a puppy, even signing up for her boring club that does really nothing interesting but buy stocks. Jin Joo warns him that it isn’t really that fun in the club she is in, but obviously Kyung Jae doesn’t give a damn as long as they are together most of the time. At this point, he is admittedly in love with his senior, but wants to cherish the feelings that comes along with it and take things one step at a time with her.
He was in too deep with his feelings for her that he is doomed to get hurt as soon as he finds out the identity of Jin Joo’s secret lover for two years. Remembering that scene, I still remember the look of betrayal on his face as he watch her walk out of the room with her lover–hand in hand. This has caused quite an uproar in class, but a true gentleman as he was who learns one good thing from loving Jinjoo–that is to be a brave person–he bravely ask everyone to take down the video of the scandalous scene that happened.
Chi Ho (Kim Woo Bin) is the least serious of the trio. And to my utter surprise Kim Woo Bin really played this epic girl chasing, sex crazed, good for nothing son, and who-doesn’t-know-what-he-wants-in-life character very well. I think I had the most laughs with him, especially that random and hilarious stuff with a mix of innuendos always just comes of his non-filter mouth.
He has a serious problem of deciding what he really wants in life (just like most of us do) and has decided his ultimate occupation at the moment will be for living and breathing at the comfort of his home, partying at night and chasing girls–what with all the money and time he has. He has lived his youth with a passion and pride for his reliable knowledge about the sexual world and thought it was good to give his besties a good show one day, which may I add didn’t really end that well for all of them.
Later, even with So Min as his girlfriend, Chi Ho makes it his mission to find another girl to get laid with. In a car, his two idiot friends question him why he does this even with So Min in the picture and he tells some dumb stuff, which constitute to how little he sees women as–as an object. Although, his treatment towards girls are totally a clear turn off and truly deserves a good beating (from me), he always puts things in a hilarious way that you can’t just simply get mad at him.
And just like the old times–being the most experienced among the three–he tells Kyung Jae and Dong Woo how he scores his dates. He lays eyes on a hot chick–his words not mine–on the side of the road, Eun Hye (Jung Joo Yeon), and plays his own cupid just as she crosses the road and only thought of scaring her when he starts the engine of his car and drives only to really run her over and so they scream at Chi Ho’s stupidity.
Eun Hye, a rookie actress, is in fact on her way to a shoot as a minor character to a drama the day that Chi Ho decides to almost kill her. To compensate her, she orders him around and appointed him her manager in front of her colleagues. Chi Ho does his job reluctantly, mostly getting the biggest satisfaction whenever he gets to see Eun Hye annoyed or in a bunch because of him.
Soon enough, though, Chi Ho starts to learn to love following her around to the point he would still show up even if Eun Hye didn’t ask him to be there. He later develops feelings for the girl and he gets laid again. This fuels my constant irritation at Kim Woo Bin’s character because he was doing this behind So Min’s back shamelessly and to top it, he has feelings for her and finally decides she is the one.
Just when things are going pretty well for them, Chi Ho ends it with So Min so he can be with Eun Hye, but unfortunately Eun Hye isn’t the type to settle for boys. Committing to a relationship isn’t really a word in her vocabulary and her blossoming career is something that her ambitious self is more worried about. That she even goes so low to the point she turns to her ‘sugar daddy’ and later in the story Chi Ho finds Eun Hye getting her major break with an ad and several other projects even without him in the picture.
Dong Woo, on the other hand, has no problem about what he wants in life. He has it already decided and is pursuing his dream of becoming a manhwa artist while attending the academy and also supporting his family with different part-time jobs (after they went bankrupt). Sad reality is the idea that he has his dream already within his reach but Dong Woo is forced to grow up and becomes the sole bread winner to three siblings and a sickly mother, so he is torn between his dream and wanting to get his family out of the financial struggle.
He is only twenty years old but I guess his story must be the most perfect depiction of what it’s like to most adults in reality. That we aren’t all financially blessed and most of us barely has the means to achieve what we want in life and that most of us hear the most heart-shattering words about our dreams just like him in the film: that being a manhwa artist won’t get him anywhere and he should just turn it into a hobby and instead get a regular office job. How do you think it would feel if it was you? Of course, that’s a totally hard shove to reality.
Against all odds, however, Dong Woo strives to make ends meet and try his best to make his family happy. Along with it, he lives with hope, especially with the support he gets from his two comical friends and So Hee (Lee Yu Bi) who has an undeniable crush on him and would probably stalk him to the end of the world.
Fast-forward, as their issues start to get resolve, Kyung Jae spits out to an equally heartbroken So Min how she is his first love. They eventually start to date after that and both Chi Ho and Dong Woo comes to learn about this–their reactions a hilarious contrast to each other.
They all meet up at the restaurant So Min’s father owns and drink away all the problems they have, with Chi Ho going all out in complaining why they have such trivial problems in their 20s when others worry about committing suicide or getting pregnant and demands his friends cooperation on the stupid suggestions he has.
Just then, as Chi Ho is accusing Kyung Jae of sleeping with his ex, So Min, the thugs who are after So Min’s father barges in to cause trouble again. They were all frightened by the appearance of the thugs, but finds hope as So Min’s father appears and pretends to be tough only for him to end up begging them to let him off with his debt.
Seeing this, Kyung Jae–with newfound courage–explodes and says the same exact words his former crush, Jin Joo, said when the two of them went out drinking , and ran towards the enemies. He tries a flying kick which is quickly deflected by one of the thugs and he lands badly on the floor. This leads to a five minute of chaos–and laughter–in the film as the five of them plus So Min’s father and mother have a ridiculous brawl with the thugs; showing a representation of how they transitioned from adolescence to adulthood and how reality bit them in the ass–unexpectedly, inevitably, harshly–and how they struggle to battle these different categories of hardships.
Of course, no one gets out of the battle unscathed, but it certainly leaves a lesson in life that will make you realize because of what happened you grew up a little more than the day before. You’re the same person but also not the same person. You become a better version of you who is more knowledgeable and experienced at the expense of a heartbreak, a dream that you can’t make true, and the feeling of not knowing what you want to do in life.
The movie has shown relatable scenes that are present in reality and depicts what day-to-day troubles youth face in the hands of the cruel world: not knowing what you want to do in life, financial instability that becomes the major odds to achieving one’s dreams, social norms that stop you from doing what you really want, the occasional heartbreaks, the take on responsibility at an early age and whatnot. They did this in an outstandingly hilarious manner that is beyond I can ask for. I just love the fact that despite all the problems in the story it is resolved in hilarity. Just goes to show that though it isn’t always rainbows and unicorns, you still have the choice how you’re going to face your problem–with a smile if you may.
I think, though I wouldn’t recommend you watching it with kids around due to sexual references, that this is something you wouldn’t regret watching after having such a long and tiring day. Just to have a good laugh.
And because I didn’t know Kim Woo Bin has a lot of funny bone he keeps with him, I still can’t let it sink in how much effective he is in portraying his hilarious, asshole character. I can’t believe he’s Kim Woo Bin. No, not really. Believe me. I just hope when he does a come back later on he can take on less serious characters like this so people will know how versatile he can also get.
Giving it a rating in numbers, let me tell you, I’m proud to say I give it 5 out of 5.
PS. You’ll definitely laugh your ass off until the ending.