If you love romantic Korean dramas or the Before movies, then find out more about Tune in For Love in our review.
Tune in for Love is a recent Korean romance film starring Kim Go-eun (yes, the lovely leading lady from Guardian: The Great and Lonely God) and Jung Hae-in. The film follows a decade in the potential hooking up of our would-be lovers Mi-soo (Kim) and Hyun-woo (Jung). Think a sweeter and gentler One Day or Same Time, Next Year, or even Richard Linklater’s Before series, where our couple keeps briefly connecting or frustratingly not. Lots and lots of bad timing and mishaps and extenuating circumstances, creating miscommunication and separation. Yes, the slow-burn shipping…
The Reticent Boy and the Shy Girl Who Meet Again and Again
They first meet in her family’s bakery in 1994. The shop’s not technically open when he walks in with a request she can’t do. The radio plays in the background. She sends him to the minimart up the road. And just as he’s leaving, the jingle for a new radio program plays, Yoo Yeol’s Music Album, and he stops in the door, surprised.
Yoo Yeol’s Music Album plays throughout Tune in for Love, and is the soundtrack weaving through this relationship. It stops him in the doorway at the start, and she finds him at the radio station at the end. Oh, but I’m getting ahead of myself here and saying too much.
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Hyun-woo ends up applying for a part-time position at the bakery, ends up working there with Mi-soo and her mom-surrogate Eun-ja (who might be her sister; I never could figure out the relationship). Hyun-woo’s sullenness begins to fall to the wayside as he works in the bakery, slowly opening up to Mi-soo and Eun-ja. He’s had a stint in juvenile detention, deemed guilty in an accidental death. It haunts him.
But when his old gang shows up, egging him to come drinking and partying, he goes and never returns. His demons have overtaken him again.
And Again and Again
They meet again by chance in 1997. He’s got a job, she’s at university, nearing the end of her studies, looking for work. But they meet on his last night of civilian life. On the morrow, he starts his mandatory military service. They share a very chaste night, promising to write each other emails. Mi-soo sets up an email account for Hyun-woo but forgets to give him the password. She writes to him faithfully for years, never receiving a reply.
The year 2000 rolls around and Mi-soo is in a job she hates, lacking self-confidence, embarrassed by her life. Hyun-woo is out of his military service, working at a gym. When he finally cracks the password to the email, he discovers her years of emails and reaches out to Mi-soo. But they both are feeling so out of sorts in their lives, lacking confidence, feeling so shy and awkward, scared, that they let the relationship slide.
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When they bump into one another in 2005, they are both in much better places. Mi-soo is working at a job she loves as an editor at a publishing house. Hyun-woo has completed training in AV and is working as a cameraman/technical assistant at a production company. And now – finally – love can blossom. And it does. Except emotional baggage still haunts our hero. A past he is not willing to share with Mi-soo. And his silence is slowly poisoning their love.
A Long Charm
Tune in for Love is a long, slow-burning love affair, charming, very tender, very chaste and noble. Some might find it too slow, and maybe it does wax a bit slow at points, but it remains charming. There was something of a lullaby quality to it, just lulled into relaxing into this film and its relationship.
The leads have great chemistry. Someone had fun finding all the different technology for the changing times. And seeing the changing screens and phones and such was a fun trip down memory lane for this woman, who can definitely remember the 1990s.
And yeah, some clichéd tropes are going on at times. But if you’re looking for a gentle, old-fashioned, clean love story, well, tune into Tune in for Love.
Content Note: PG-13. Some subtitled swearing and mild violence.
Where to Watch: Netflix.
Have you seen Tune in for Love? What are your thoughts on this romantic Korean drama?
Featured Photo: CGV Art House.