Netflix's 'Tune in for Love' presents a simple tale of love and separation and the deep yearning that two lovers feel
There is a simple intimacy which grows into a relationship which took 10 years to be realized -- from 1995 to 2005.
The first time they met, they did not have a chance to fall in love. The second time they met, they had their first awkward kiss but then, fate plays a spoilsport and they are not able to move ahead. The third time is the charm as they say and that's when Mi-soo (Kim Go-eun) and Hyun-Woo (Jung Hae-in) have a shot at falling deeply, irrevocably and head over heels in love with each other in 'Tune in for Love'. This time that they have managed to spend together is initially a slide into the kind of love that makes one swoon. Then there is simple intimacy, which grows into a relationship which took 10 years to be realized -- from 1995 to 2005.
So, 'Tune in for Love' at its heart is a beautifully portrayed tale of how love matures over years as two individuals meet, part and meet again due to their circumstances. Hyun-woo is deeply hurt by the death of a friend and his other friends seem to blame him for some reason. The death was an accident, but Hyun-woo is never able to believe the same because everyone around suspects him. This wound festers within Hyun-woo so long that when he finally gets a chance at finding happiness with Mi-soo, he almost screws it up.
From the day that Hyun-woo met Mi-soo, which was when he was in high school, she has been his safe space. A place where there has been no doubt about who he is, or what kind of a person he is. The two indulge in simple pleasures, of sharing coffee and doughnuts at the bakery that Mi-soo runs with her sister. For a while, Hyun-woo hadn't been able to smile, but Mi-soo makes him smile. He brings the wall down, one fine day as the rain pours down and in the background the radio program that Mi-soo and Hyun-woo enjoy plays a beautiful song. For the first time, we see Hyun-woo crack a smile. This shot is so beautifully framed to show how Hyun-woo is now at peace, just enough, to take pleasure in someone's company.
Despite this, Hyun-woo's past drags him into the dark pits of guilt that he is no longer able to assuage. Hyun-woo makes excuses for his friends, tells Mi-soo's sister that they are not really bad people, but it is their situation that has made them the way they are. The first, the second time and for the last time, the only thing that keeps Hyun-woo and Mi-soo apart is his friends who coincidentally find ways to mess up one way or another. The first time around it is a brawl in a soju bar. The second time around, Hyun-woo gets enlisted in the army for his compulsory duty and the last time, Mi-soo finds the truth about why Hyun-woo has been holding back.
Once she finds out about Hyun-woo's friend, she tries to assuage his guilt by meeting up with his family and tries to sort things out. What she doesn't do, however, is understand that he needed her to believe in him more than anything. When she confesses about meeting his friend's family, Hyun-woo's struggle is clear. Who would believe in him now? This doubt almost kills the love that the two had safeguarded against everything.
But then, separation has a way of influencing lovers in the weirdest ways, doesn't it? In fact, it is the yearning that the film captures most accurately than the charming, sweet love between Mi-soo and Hyun-Woo.
While the story is a simple tale of love and separation, and love again, the visuals add so much value. In fact, the moments that hook you in are mostly postcard-like. Be it the rainy day that Mi-soo and Hyun-woo share, or their first kiss which is awkward, but charming, the scenes are set poetically. For instance, this first kiss happens at the break of down. The scene, significant of a new beginning. If you have heard of scenes that sing to you, this film aces it.
Let's take the scene of Mi-soo and Hyun-woo meeting again as adults. Initially, after having parted so many times, Mi-soo is not ready to say much. Then the two arrive at Hyun-woo's house, the same one that Mi-soo took him to when they coincidentally met before and she used to stay there at that time. She is swept over by surprise and realizes that she is happy to have met him again. We see only her, as she speaks to him and we hear the excitement in his voice as he speaks from the room. Then she finally steps in and tells him that she is glad to have met him again. We do not see them, because their happiness is not for us to see, but hear. The frame beautifully captures that for the moment, the two are in a bubble of their own where no situation can cause them to part again.
As the two are brought together and torn apart, it begs the question. What is love, if not for separation? What is life, without passion? What is happiness, if not shared?
'Tune in for Love' can be streamed on Netflix from November 5.